Shane Byrne has praised the Althea Racing team after setting the third fastest lap time during pre-season World Superbike testing at Portimao.
Byrne switches to Althea in 2010 after a season spent with Sterilgarda Ducati, but while the move sees the former British Superbike champion stick with the same manufacturer, it's all change for the previously Honda-backed team.
With that in mind, Byrne was keen to use his experience of the bike to bring Althea up to speed, but while he reverted to the settings that made him competitive at the Portimao race meeting towards the end of the 2009 season, he found it difficult to get comfortable on the bike initially.
Nonetheless, Byrne and Althea worked away over the weekend to eventually haul themselves up to third position by the test's conclusion, a result Byrne was pleased with.
”I think that all my team done a very good job this weekend and I want to thank Genesio Bevilacqua [team manager] for his great work and also Ducati, because they gave us a really strong bike,” said Byrne, who also out paced the factory Xerox Ducatis in the process.
“It has been hard work and I was surprised to see how difficult it was to go fast with this bike. I started the test with exactly the same setting from my race bike from last year so the bike should be easy for me to ride, but the electronics of my 1198 are really very advanced and it took all Friday and Sunday's test to make the most from my Ducati.
“I think I learned more in these test than in all last year. It has been a very good test and I'm very happy with the team and I hope to continue to work like this for all the season and now I look forward to the next test in Valencia.”
Byrne's team-mate Carlos Checa posted more modest results on the sister 1198, ending the weekend just outside the top ten in 11th position.
“It was good to be here and get more time on the bike and work with the team. We worked on some settings over the test we got to try a few things with the bike and made a big step up.
“Unfortunately the weather didn't allow us to get more. Unfortunately over the afternoon I was not able to take any advantage from the soft tyre. Anyway, we're continuing to improve and I'm confident for the coming season. The team has been great and we're working really well together. Now I'm looking forward to getting to Valencia for two more days of testing.”
Shane Byrne's Portimao test card
1min 44.610s – 9th
1min 43.569s – 6th
(wet) Did Not Participate
Saturday PM: (wet)
1min 57.963s – 17th
1min 44.599s – 9th
1min 42.877s – 3rd
1min 42.877 – 3rd
Carlos Checa's Portimao test card
1min 44.972s – 12th
1min 43.870s – 9th
(wet) 1min 55.922s – 7th
Saturday PM: (wet)
1min 53.854s – 10th
1min 44.599s – 10th
1min 43.629s – 11th
1min 43.629– 11th