Shane Byrne was refusing to read too much into his mid-field position following provisional qualifying for the opening World Superbike round at Phillip Island, the Sterilgarda rider claiming he just needs time to adapt to the circuit.

Pre-season pace setter Byrne was expected to be a front runner when action got underway in Australia, but would spend most of free practice and provisional qualifying in the lower reaches of the top twenty.

Eventually hauling himself up to 15th position, Byrne insists his low-profile performance is simply to do with the fact he hasn't competed on the circuit in several years, while most of his rivals were present at the Phillip Island test last week.

With that in mind, the Sterilgarda rider doesn't consider the one second gap to Ducati counterpart Jakub Smrz to be insurmountable.

"Day 1 was very useful," the reigning British Superbike champion said. "The team have done a great job setting the bike and I got to grips with the track. The gap that separates me from the top is not big and I hope to finish close to the top spots.

"As far as I know, almost all the riders that are in front of me had tested here last week; I hardly remembered this track and I have to say I feel great racing on it, even though I slipped by the end of the lap. We are working very hard and we really hope to get a good result."



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