Defending Bennetts British Superbike champion Shane Byrne says his Be Wiser Ducati start forced him “vertical” off the line but recovered from his poor opening lap to take second place in the 2018 opener.

Byrne suffered another tricky bolt off of the start line with a RPM issue which sent him into a wheelie to drop down the running order on the opening lap. The six-time BSB champion fought back from ninth place to reel in the leading duo of Bradley Ray and James Ellison on the final two laps in race one at the Leicestershire circuit.

The 41-year-old dived up the inside of Ellison on the final lap at the Melbourne hairpin but was unable to find a way past Ray and had to settle for second place but concedes his race was compromised by his poor start.

“When I pulled up to the gird I did everything as usual and put the bike in gear. I started to rev the bike a bit but when I did the bike started to jolt forward,” Byrne said. “I was looking at the light and building the RPM but the jolts were getting bigger and bigger.

“I had absolutely no idea what would happen when I let go of the clutch when the light went out. I must have moved a fraction of a millimetre when the light went out and it just went vertical. I thought ‘oh dear, this is not the start I was hoping for’.”

The experienced Byrne managed his tyre life to battle back through the BSB field to second place and despite missing out on victory just 0.383s he is quietly confident ahead of race two on Monday.

“It definitely made things hard work as I dropped right back down the order. I was conscious it wasn’t overly hot so I tried to be really careful to make sure I had some tyre left for the end of the race.

“Going into the final sector I thought about a move on Brad but it would have been one of those last-minute late lunges which might have seen us both upside down together. With him having such a good race it would have been criminal if it had happened.

“Fair play to him and to James as it was a tough race for me but I think it would have been easier if I had started at the front with them. I’m happy to take second and the podium points.”

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