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Byrne, Ellison reveal Superbike attraction

10 August 2005

Battling MotoGP Brits Shane Byrne and James Ellison - who made their names in Superbike racing - have revealed they are still attracted to the production based championships; Shakey stating he'd return if MotoGP 'became stagnant' while Ellison would 'love' to ride as a wild-card after turning down the chance of a front-running WSBK seat.

Byrne joined MotoGP for 2004 as the reigning BSB champion and a double WSBK race winner, as a wild-card, at Brands Hatch. Ellison then arrived later that season as the reigning World Endurance champion and recently crowned British Superbike Cup champion (for non-factory bikes). He had also finished 5th and 6th as a wild-card at the 2004 Brands Hatch WSBK round with his privateer BSB team.

But with Byrne riding firstly for Aprilia and now Team Roberts - and Ellison at the similarly struggling WCM - neither has had the chance to repeat such performances in MotoGP. As such, Crash.net asked if they were ever tempted to return to Superbike and remind people of what they can do.

"Do you know, all the time I can keep making progress in MotoGP I'll stay, because I love the championship, I love the people around me and I'm really happy where I am," said Byrne. "But, if it ever comes to a point where things get a bit stagnant or I have to move down a team or something like that then I'll definitely move back to Superbike.

"That's because at the end of the day I'm go racing to win races, not to doordle around at the back of the back. When James and I had to walk from the front of the grid at Laguna Seca (after the minute's silence) f**k, I was knackered on the way back because it was such a long way!" he said with a half smile. "We don't go racing to do that, but we'll see - we'll be alright."

Ellison added that he'd love to 'go back and show what he can do' as a wild-card - but then revealed why he'd turned down offers that would have allowed him to fight for this year's World Superbike crown.

"I'd actually love to go back (as a wild-card). World Superbikes is where I grew up that's my home paddock you know. We went back there with my girlfriend at Silverstone and the amount of people we met that we remembered from when I was racing there and they were so inviting - it is like a big family there," said James. "At the moment I do feel a bit lost in MotoGP, because I don't know anybody.

"I would love to go back on a World Superbike and show what I can do - but I did have that opportunity," he revealed. "I had a couple of opportunities at the end of last year to race in World Superbikes this year. I was very confident we could have done very well on the bikes that I was offered, but I'd rather come here.

"I'm not saying it would have been easy in World Superbikes, but it would have been easier in World Superbikes. I'm not saying I would have won the World Superbike championship, but I am saying we would have been competitive and we would have fought for the world championship.

"But where I am right now, this was just the perfect opportunity for me. I'm looking more long term - rather than going into World Superbikes, maybe getting a couple of podiums and fighting for the world championship - and then what do you do after that, you know?

"It's so hard for British riders to get into MotoGP. This door was opened by Peter Clifford (WCM team manager) and it was just 'right - I'm in' and it's paid off. People are noticing what we can do, Peter's happy with the way things are going and I'm building a good relationship with the team.

"So hopefully, when we do get the V6 going and if it starts working, I've got a long term relationship with these guys," Ellison concluded.

Ellison currently sits 22nd in the MotoGP World Championship standings with 4-points to his credit, while Byrne is 23rd with 1-point.


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