With no ride confirmed for 2010, Shane Byrne has a perfect opportunity to submit his pitch to prospective employers ahead of the final World Superbike round at Portimao after securing his and Sterilgarda Ducati's best qualifying position of the year in second.
Having dominated testing around the Portuguese circuit prior to the season, Byrne was tipped as a possible title contender in 2009, but a combination of factors have prevented him from replicating the same form.
Nonetheless, having gathered considerable momentum as the season has worn on, Byrne's return to Portimao has yielded yet another good result, the Briton emerging as the best placed Ducati rider on a weekend when the Italian manufacturer is putting all its efforts into helping Noriyuki Haga to the title.
Achieved on used tyres and with no slipstreaming aids, Byrne's achievement cannot be underestimated, even if the reigning British Superbike champion admits he was pushing especially hard to get the edge on factory rider Michel Fabrizio.
"I was never this close to crash as I was today! I gave 110 per cent, I rode to the limit and I set a very good time. I'm confident for tomorrow, it's going to be a battle for the title and I'll try to give it my all.
“I'll have to get a good start and be constantly focused because many riders are going very fast and it's definitely not going to be an easy one. I just hope to end the season with a great result.”