Reigning British Superbike champion Shane Byrne fired a warning shot to the 2009 World Superbike field by being a fastest on all three days of the official Portimao test.
Due to changeable weather most of the best lap times were set on day two and the test ended with the Sterilgarda Ducati rider ahead of not only the 2009 factory WSBK riders, led by reigning AMA champion Ben Spies (Yamaha), but a clear 1.5sec quicker than the next best satellite rider, Jakob Smrz (Ducati) in seventh.
Byrne, who blitzed the first half of the 2008 BSB series on his way to securing a second BSB title, may have changed team and championship for 2009, but the Englishman is no stranger to the 1098 - and already looks set to be a thorn in the side of the factory riders when the 2009 season begins at Phillip Island on March 1.
“I didn't expect to be fastest in the test to be honest, but I'm not surprised,” said Byrne, who was just under 0.2sec quicker than Spies and factory Ducati rider Noriyuki Haga by the end of the rain-interrupted test. “The bike's working really well and the relationship and feedback with the team and my engineer is great.
“The team made the bike more suitable for my riding style and as a result we set some excellent times. Being the quickest rider for three days in a row is a big satisfaction and gives me to a lot of hope for the future.”
Sunday's final day of testing also featured a trial run of the new 'knockout' Superpole system, something Byrne had already tasted in BSB last season.
“This Superpole formula is not new for me, we tried something similar in the last few BSB races. It's really exciting and spectacular and I'm sure it'll look good on TV as well,” said Shakey.
Many teams will now travel to Phillip Island well to undergo their own private test sessions before the start of the new season.