MonsterMob Ducati riders Shane Byrne and Stuart Easton had to settle for a trio of runner up places in Round 7 of the British Championships at Rockingham Motor Speedway on Sunday.

26 year old Byrne had to settle for second place in both Superbike races but still managed to increase his Championship lead to 144 points after a traumatic weekend at the Northamptonshire circuit.

With practice delayed and qualifying scrapped due to surface problems, Byrne was happy to leave Rockingham with his Championship lead increased having had to settle for second best behind Japanese rider Yukio Kagayama on both occasions.

"Second place is good enough but I really hate not winning," admitted the Aussie. "It's good for the Championship but I'm disappointed to leave the circuit without a victory under my belt for the first time this season."

Defending Supersport Champion Stuart Easton also finished in second place behind Championship leader Karl Harris and the gap behind Harris now stands at 60 points with over half the races gone.

"There's nothing worse than second place but considering the problems we have encountered this weekend it's a reasonable result," said the Scot. "I really need to start winning before long to bring Harris's lead back down."

Team owner Paul Bird was glad to get the weekend over and happy with the hat trick of rostrum places.

"After the problems we have endured this weekend, to increase the Superbike Championship lead was all we could ask," he said. "Stuart rode really well also and whilst it was disappointing not to come away with a victory of any sort I am happy with what we have achieved."

The championship now moves on to Mondello Park in Ireland, in two weeks.

Preview - British Grand Prix.

Valentino Rossi reckons Donington Park hosts his second 'home' Grand Prix
of the year and the 24-year-old London based Italian is determined to turn
on the speed and the style to maintain his remarkable pedigree at the
Leicestershire circuit as he rides in the eighth round of the World MotoGP
Championship on Sunday 13 July.

The reigning world champion goes into the 30 lap race at his most
determined as he battles to shake off the fast emerging challenge from Sete
Gibernau, who, with his third victory of the season two weeks ago at Assen
moved to within 38 points of Rossi.

There is the promise of a real showdown between them at the parkland
circuit as Rossi, also the winner of three races so far in his efforts to
keep the sport's elite crown for a third consecutive year, goes all out to
underline his superiority.

The firm favourite with the crowds, Rossi, the exciting, ebullient
character who is the master of the unexpected with his fun loving approach,
has a brilliant record at Donington, having won no less than five times in
previous years.

Rossi won the 125cc British Grand Prix in 1997 en route to winning that
World crown, two years later he won the 250cc race, again going on to win
the title, while he enjoyed maiden 500cc race glory in 2000. He repeated
that victory the following year, to become the final winner of the World
500cc Championship, and then last season, as he became the first holder of
the World MotoGP title he won that race, after an initial scrap with Carlos

It is a terrific record, and Rossi is in no mood to let it slip, though he
acknowledges, the action is getting tougher, race by race, with both
Gibernau and arch-rival Max Biaggi, the former four times World 250cc
Champion, both riding similar V5 Hondas to that of the series leader.

He is also mindful of the fast developing challenge of the Ducatis. Already
Loris Capirossi has backed up two pole starts with a race victory for the
Italian marque who are enjoying life in the fast lane of the top flight.
Capirossi will pose real problems, and his team-mate the former World
Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss, who knows the circuit well, could also be
in the frame.

Colin Edwards, the reigning World Superbike Champion, who graduated into
the elite class riding now for Aprilia, is another rider who knows
Donington well, and his team-mate Noriyuki Haga has fond memories of racing
the circuit, having taken an unexpected winning double in the Superbike
class several years earlier.

Checa, who had looked set for victory last year is keen to show what might
have been, as he continues with Yamaha, while Alex Barros, also riding
Yamaha could also pose a significant threat.

Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams hopes for an upturn in fortune after a tough
opening to the campaign aboard the ProtonKR as he flies the lone British
flag in the race.

Adding to the action on Grand Prix day are races counting to both the 125cc
and 250cc World Championships, together with support race for the domestic
Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup and the FIM World Classic series.

Spanish rider Daniel Pedrosa heads the challenge for honours in the 125cc
title stakes, having enjoyed three race wins so far, but Steve Jenkner, the
winner last time out is closing in. And, in that race, former champion
Leon Camier, the 16-year-old Kent rider whose family mortgaged their house
to keep him racing, will be battling to score his first points of the

Chaz Davies, the 16-year-old Herefordshire schoolboy racer, who became the
youngest 250cc rider to score World Championship points bids for more
against a quality field led by Manuel Poggiali, the San Marino rider who
won last season's 125cc crown but who is currently under pressure from both
Roberto Rolfo and Toni Elias.

Practice and qualifying is through both Friday 11 July, from 09.00 and
Saturday 12 July, again from 09.00 with on Saturday evening two races
counting to the Yamaha R6 Cup and the World Classic Series. On Sunday 13
July, after morning practice from 09.00, the Grand Prix action begins at
11.15 with the 25 lap Cinzano British 125cc Grand Prix, followed at 12.30
by the 27 lap Cinzano British 250cc Grand Prix. The feature race of the
event, the 30 lap Cinzano British MotoGP starts at 14.00, and from 15.30
there are races for the R6 Cup and the World Classic series.



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