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Shane Byrne says having established a confident base setting he and Be Wiser Ducati have been able to apply improvements to make significant strides with lap times at Oulton Park.
The MCE British Superbike championship leader stormed to top spot in Friday free practice with his final flying lap with a 1m 34.685s – a time Byrne estimates was 1.3s up on his best at Oulton Park from May – to lead the timesheet by less than two-tenths from title rival Leon Haslam.
Comparing his Be Wiser Ducati's setting and configuration from when the Cheshire track hosted round two, Byrne has found consistent feeling and pace immediately with the Panigale R which has helped him focus on the finer set-up details.
“I'm really happy because over the past few rounds Giovanni and I have found a base setting since around Brands Hatch Indy,” Byrne said. “I've been looking forward to this round just because of how difficult it was the first time around and I love the challenge.
“We went through quite a few different circuits earlier in the year and it felt we had to turn the thing upside down but lately we've stumbled on something that works really well. We can roll the bike out now. Despite not having the gap at the front like we had at Thruxton we have a similar sensation straight from the out lap.
“My fastest lap in May here was a 35.9s and I've done a 34.6s so far and I wouldn't say I'm at the absolute limit either. There are a few things to chip away at over the weekend and see what the first race brings.”
Explaining the changes to the Be Wiser Ducati from May, Byrne says the key improvements have been to the geometry of the bike along with the new exhaust system to control the power delivery.
“The exhaust has changed but it doesn't really change so much,” he said. “The character and the way it looks, for sure, and it has smoothed out the power a little bit and made it a little bit more revvy at the top instead of a load of grunt which was difficult to control.
“The fundamental change has been the geometry of the bike. The ride heights and even the springs are quite different to what we ran here in May. Then it was the second round and we were finding our way but it shows we've come a long way finding things.”