Shane Byrne will still be present in the World Superbike Championship next season after signing a deal to ride with the Althea Ducati team in 2010.

The two-time British Superbike Champion made his full-time WSBK debut in 2009 after joining race winners Sterilgarda Ducati, but while he wasn't able to replicate the front running form he showed during testing, a flurry of good results towards the end of the year would see him classified eighth overall.

The second best-placed privateer rider, Byrne - who led races at Misano and Portimao - was the only rider to finish the 2009 season inside the top ten to be without a confirmed ride for next year.

Nonetheless, Byrne has found a lifeline with the growing Althea team, which next year expands to two riders and switches to Ducati machinery. Naturally, Byrne was delighted to be given another opportunity to perform on the international stage aboard a familiar bike.

"I'm extremely happy to say that I will join the Althea Ducati racing team for the 2010 WSB championship," he said. "Genesio Bevilacqua has been fantastic and from my talks with him so far I already understand he is a very serious, enthusiastic and ambitious person.

"He has put together a fantastic package that should enable both Carlos and I the opportunity to fight at a very high level so I look forward to this new adventure, remaining on a Ducati motorcycle was very important to me and I think in Team Althea Ducati I've found the perfect place, a good bike, a very strong and experienced team mate and an extremely motivated team so I can't wait to get started!"

With Byrne joining ex-Ten Kate Honda rider Carlos Checa to complete a formidable rider line-up at the Italian team, manager Bevilacqua is thrilled with his two acquisitions.

"I'm really enthusiastic to have signed Shane Byrne for our 2010 team. He's proved to be a very skilful and successful rider in world Superbike and I'm are sure he will be a great combination with Carlos Checa.

"Shakey is an experienced and spirited rider, with him we are certain we'll be able to challenge with the best and official 2010 Superbike world championship teams. We worked hard to organize a strong technical staff that will support in the best possible way our two competitive riders.

"We must thank Althea, an international company who is used to working with important projects, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors who allowed our team to be competitive and particularly Unibat, one of the biggest worldwide battery producers who believe in our project."

Although he initially struggled for form on the Sterilgarda Ducati, Byrne was a regular frontrunner towards the end of the 2009 season, scoring a podium at Misano, plus a further five top five results in the second-half of the year.

He joins five other British riders - Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, Tom Sykes, James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow - on the World Superbike grid in 2010.



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