This Sunday will see reigning British Superbike champion Shane Byrne make his MotoGP race debut aboard the Aprilia RS Cube - a machine which 'Shakey' admits scared him at first, despite a dedicated PlayStation programme to learn new tracks!

Byrne was speaking at a special London launch for the upcoming MotoGP season, attended by, where he talked about his graduation from BSB, that frightening first experience of the RS Cube - as well as the upcoming season...

Q: Things haven't gone too bad so far in MotoGP have they?

Shane Byrne: Yeah I'm having a ball - it's been absolutely fantastic! It is a big eye-opener and it's funny that Neil should mention the Barcelona test 'cause I turned up there and said to my manager 'flipin heck what's this all about it's only a practice session' - it was bigger than the whole British Superbike race weekend and he said 'wait until we get to some of the bigger rounds - you won't believe it'.

It's a lot, lot bigger than anything I've been used to, everything about it is different - the bikes are different - it couldn't possibly be more different for me. It's just awesome though. I'm really pleased to be here and been having loads of fun - Jeremy's been a spot-on team-mate. I've just been wobbling round trying to do my best and enjoying it.

Q: I think you were a bit shaken up when you round the bike for the first time?

Shane Byrne: Yeah. I've been making a real big effort on the PlayStation to learn the tracks - I'm actually quite concerned about South Africa because it's not on the PlayStation so I don't know what I'm gonna do there! But I turned up at Jerez and the guys said to me 'go out and do one lap past the pits then come back in'.

I thought no problem - I've got this track nailed anyway, I was actually sick of the place before I even got there because I'd done so many laps on the PlayStation, but I rode round and got to the back straight and thought 'right'.

They'd told me what it needed to be revved to so I opened it up and the thing just took off like a rocket down the back straight! I looked at the rev counter and it said maybe 11,000 - and it was supposed to rev to 16,000 - and I thought 'flipin hell'!

So the next lap round, the in lap, I thought 'you're gonna have it this time'. So I came round and wound it right up and watched the rev counter come round, it was wheelieing - and I kept banging gears at it - and it just carried on wheelieing. I got to the end of the straight and thought 'I'm never gonna stop' so I grabbed a handful of brake and it just stood up on the front wheel, so I'd gone from the back wheel to the front wheel in the space of 500 yards and frightened the life out of myself.

I got round the corner at the end of the straight and just wound the throttle off and I was like 'phew'! I couldn't take it all in - so yeah it's quite different! (laughter).

Q: I get the feeling you're looking forward to this season?

Shane Byrne: Yeah I mean it's awesome. I've got a good team with me - the guys are working really hard, Jeremy's a fantastic team-mate and hopefully I'll have an awesome suntan by the end of this season!



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