Shane Byrne's hopes of laying the foundation for a possible World Superbike title challenge came to nothing after two accidents left him pointless at Phillip Island

The British rider has endured a tough weekend on the sole Sterilgarda Ducati having spent much of the weekend attempting to make up for missing last week's pre-season test at the same circuit.

However, his fortunes failed to improve in the races, Byrne languishing on the fringes of the points in the first race following early tyre problems when he took a tumble at the seven lap mark and couldn't continue.

Hurting his hand in the process, Byrne went ahead and started the second race, but having risen to just outside the top ten, he fell again at Honda and was consigned to his second retirement of the day.

Admitting it has taken him until this weekend to realise how close the competition is in World Superbikes, Byrne is now turning his attention to the next round in Qatar.

"It was bad luck," he said. "I had a good start in race one, but I noticed that the tyres were slipping in an odd way in the early laps. I tried to recover, but after seven laps I slipped off. Although I had a hand injury, I didn't give up and started race two as well.

"I had a pretty good start, but after 11 laps, while I was trying to overtake Smrz, I got very wide on the corner. I tried to hold trajectory but the bike locked up and I crashed. Nevertheless, I am beginning to understand how hard-fought the SBK is, especially in the first laps."

For team manager Marco Borciani, the first round is a world away from their headline-grabbing performance during testing in Portugal a month ago. Nonetheless he is confident Byrne will come back for the second round even stronger.

"We've had a lot of bad luck on this track. We haven't done well but we won't lose heart. We know we have a great rider as he managed to set the third time during warm up despite being the only top rider who doesn't know the track.

"He was confident he could score a great result... Nevertheless, I'm sure he will redeem himself in Qatar where he has already raced and factory teams haven't tested for some time. Anyway, our championship will start in fifteen days time."



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