Shane Byrne and the Be Wiser Ducati squad began preparations for their 2017 MCE British Superbike title defence with an opening two-day test at Portimao alongside a number of World Superbike and World Supersport squads.
The five-time BSB champion and team-mate Glenn Irwin kicked off its 2017 Ducati Panigale R development by assessing and comparing updates to last year's machine while also providing a rigorous shakedown.
Byrne ended the Portimao test just two-tenths off factory Ducati World Superbike rider Marco Meldandri's best lap time but insists the mark isn't a fair comparison given the different technical specification between World Superbikes and BSB.
“It's pretty difficult to assess how our initial test went this year as you could argue that being just 0.2 seconds off the factory Ducati WSB bike and in the mix with many of the others means that I've blown out the cobwebs and got up to speed quite quickly,” Byrne said.
“At the same time we can't rest on our laurels and need to push on with the development of the bike, testing against World Superbikes is like taking a knife to a gunfight but we held our own that's for sure.
“It's early days yet and we are continuing the development work but just getting back out on my baby at a track I enjoy was great fun.”
Irwin has echoed Byrne's sentiments and was thrilled to get up to speed so fast given his relative inexperience at the tricky Portuguese circuit.
“It was good to ride at Portimao and shake off the winter cobwebs,” Irwin said. “We tested the new blipper which will come good, but I feel it was an extra on the bike but not yet working as I want it to.
“We also experimented with a new clutch and a different direction with the bike and we found some good pace towards the end of the day two leaving me just 1.3 seconds off Melandri and a second off Shakey. To end the test just a second off on a track where I've done so few miles is positive considering how quick Shakey's pace was.”
The Be Wiser Ducati crew heads on to Jerez for a second two-day test on the 1-2 February.