Shane Byrne gave his flagging 2009 World Superbike Championship season a significant boost with a marvellous run to second position for Sterilgarda Ducati at Misano.
Starting from his best starting position of the season in fifth, Byrne capitalised on the treacherous weather conditions at the start of race one to scythe his way into the lead and pull out a massive margin of almost ten seconds over his rivals.
However, with the circuit drying rapidly, Byrne was one of the last leading riders to swap to a bike with dry settings and while he emerged back on circuit in an effective first place, he was quickly caught by a flying Ben Spies as he attempted to get back into a 'rhythm'.
Nonetheless, despite missing out on the chance to convert his long-time lead into a race, Byrne was thrilled to be standing on the podium after what has been a disappointing season thus far.
"I'm very happy with my first podium position with Sterilgarda,” he said. “After a difficult season start, I improved progressively and today I managed to score a great result on my team's home ground. I had a good feeling with the track when it was still wet and built a pretty good advantage.
“Once I changed tyres it took me a few laps to get back in rhythm and Spies overtook me. Getting back on the podium gives you a great feeling and boosts your confidence.”
Turning in a sixth place finish in the completely dry second race, Byrne was delighted to produce his best performance of the season ahead of his home round at Donington Park.
“I also did pretty well in race two when the track had completely dried out. I maintained position at the start and was just behind the front runners. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake and lost contact but I'm still happy with my performance because I set the fastest time in the last lap. I'm really in good form and the Donington round couldn't have come in a better moment.”
Coming twelve months after Sterilgarda Ducati recorded their maiden WSBK victory at Misano with a 1-2 finish, Marco Borciani felt vindicated by Byrne's top performance.
"It's a wonderful feeling to get back on the podium. It seems like Misano is our track since last year Xaus won and Biaggi finished second. We did very well today as well and we're getting better every time.
“It's really a shame that Shane made those small mistakes in race two. He could've fought for a podium position yet again. However, we finished 4 seconds off the winner's time and next week Shane will race on his home track at Donington.”