Defending MCE British Superbike champion Shane Byrne says he hasn’t given up on the 2017 title after losing further ground to leader Leon Haslam at Assen.

The Be Wiser Ducati rider targeted five wins from the remaining five races to turnaround his title fortunes but after narrowly missing out to Haslam for victory in the Assen opener Byrne could only manage fifth place in race two to lose further ground to Haslam.

Byrne will head into the 2017 season finale 33 points behind Haslam, and one point off of Josh Brookes, but with three races at Brands Hatch is confident of remaining in the hunt for a sixth BSB title.

“We were able to take a lot of positives out of the first race and to come through from 16th on the grid to second was pleasing,” Byrne said. “The one person I’m focused on at the moment is Leon as he’s leading the championship so getting involved with riders not part of the Showdown made life difficult. I should have been really happy with second place but the reality was I still didn’t beat Leon.

“Starting race two from pole made my life easier although I knew it would still be tough but I gave myself the best possible chance by leading for the majority of the race.

“The pace dropped when James Ellison passed me and I tried to fight back but made a mistake and dropped back to fifth so all I can do is go to Brands Hatch and do my very best. If that gets us the championship, then great, if it doesn’t, no-one can say I didn’t try.”

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