Shane Byrne says he is encouraged by the performance of his new Ducati 1199 R as he and new PBM Be Wiser team-mate Glenn Irwin turned in the bike's first laps at Portimao.

The four-time British champion enters into his fifth straight season with the PBM team, but will switch from Kawasaki to Ducati machinery for 2016 as the manufacturer seeks its first British title since 2008.

On that occasion it was Byrne and the Airwaves-backed GSE Racing team that clinched the title for Ducati with the 1098, but while its 1199 R predecessor hasn't enjoyed quite the same runaway success since its introduction in 2013, the Briton was impressed by the twin-cylinder machine's early impressions.

"Today has been really positive for our first day on track with the new bike," he told the BSB website. "I spent a lot of time working with the team on fuelling, throttle response and engine mapping so have been in and out of the garage quite a lot to make the different changes. I feel extremely satisfied with what the whole Be Wiser Ducati team have achieved today and where we have got to already. It would have been simple for my crew chief to throw in some different maps and go for it, but we have been building from the ground up.

"We have set some pretty good lap times considering it has been a steady day so it has been incredibly good in that respect and if we get another good day under our belts tomorrow that will put us in an even better position for our next test. A few days ago the Be Wiser Ducati didn't even run and had never even been on track, so today has been astounding and speaks volumes about the hard work put in already by the team.

"I am getting more comfortable all of the time and I know what it takes to win in BSB and what I need to achieve in the build up to the start of the season to be very competitive. If we continue in the manner we are at the minute, I'm very confident this will be the case!"

The test marks Byrne's first laps on Ducati machinery since 2010 when he competed with Althea Racing in the World Superbike Championship.



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