Shane Byrne gave his hopes of remaining on the World Superbike grid in 2010 a significant boost after coming away with a pair of hard fought fourth place finishes during the final round of the 2009 season in Portugal.
Capitalising on his front row starting position, Byrne was always in contention at the front of the field, the reigning British Superbike champion even leading for ten laps of the final race after getting an excellent start from second on the grid.
Although his mighty efforts on the Sterilgarda Ducati weren't quite good enough to score a podium finish – or match his best of second place at Misano earlier in the season - Byrne would finish both races within around five seconds of the leaders.
A crucial result for Byrne, whose results lift him to eighth in the final World Superbike standings, it comes at a time when he heads into the off-season as the highest placed rider without a confirmed ride for 2010.
"I gave it my all in both races and I would have really enjoyed finishing on the podium but it was honestly impossible for me to do better than this. The team did a great job the entire weekend, the bike performed very well and so I was able to compete with the factory riders for the top positions.
“I'd like to thank all the members of the team who worked really hard this season so I could finish eighth in the riders' standings.”
With only one factory seat at Aprilia remaining, Byrne could possibly return with Sterilgarda in 2010, something team manager Marco Borciani is striving for, provided he can get the funding together to compete next season.
"Shakey was fantastic today, he proved his talent. I hope I'll be able to work alongside him next season as well. He is a great rider and a great team-mate.
“I'd also like to thank all the team's collaborators. We ended well a very positive season during which we established ourselves as one of the best private teams.”
Byrne finished as the second-best placed privateer rider, behind Leon Haslam, and as the third highest Ducati rider in the standings.