Shakey heads off Haslam as title fight set to rage in Assen
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne threw down the gauntlet to his MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship rivals on the opening day at Assen, heading off standings leader Leon Haslam by 0.554s ahead of tomorrow’s Datatag Qualifying.
Peter Hickman had set the pace in the opening session this morning ahead of Byrne, but the Be Wiser Ducati rider was back at the top this afternoon, setting the fastest lap of the weekend so far to stay ahead of Haslam at the chequered flag.
John Hopkins surged up the times in the final stages of the session to fire the Moto Rapido Ducati into third place as Josh Brookes edged up to fourth place for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team.
Jake Dixon had been running outside the top ten for the majority of the session, but on his final run he moved into the top ten and soon into the top five for the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team, nudging ahead of Sylvain Guintoli on the Bennetts Suzuki.
Dan Linfoot was the fastest of the Honda Racing’s contenders in seventh place ahead of Peter Hickman who only completed 11 laps after a crash, he was unhurt but there was extensive damage to the Smiths Racing BMW.
James Ellison was ninth fastest ahead of Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon with wildcard Richard Cooper just missing out on the top ten for Bennetts Suzuki. Jason O’Halloran was the sixth of the Showdown contenders in 12th place after he also crashed out unhurt during the session.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Assen, Free Practice 1:
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 1m:37.247s
- Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.145s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.374s
- Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.430s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.467s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.496s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +0.535s
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.546s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.769s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.096s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Assen, Free Practice 2:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:36.136s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.554s
- John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.570s
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.620s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.796s
- Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.863s
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +0.881s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +1.125s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +1.210s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +1.285s
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Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne
Be Wiser Ducati
Fastest rider after opening two free practice sessions
“We started with the bike pretty much how we finished with it here last year. After the first few laps we made a few changes and the bike felt good.
“This morning was quite cold so we did most of it on the hard tyre and we were quick which is important. On the softer tyre with the extra grip I had a few issues, but the boys fixed that for this afternoon and the bike felt good.
“There are a few things we want to try tomorrow morning in FP3, but we want to win the races on Sunday that’s for sure.”