Podium in Race 1, but Shakey retires whilst leading Race 2 at Cadwell Park
Podium finish for Shakey in Race 1
Technical fault forces Shakey to retire whilst leading Race 2
Hopper injures hand during qualifying and unable to take part in both races
It was a weekend to forget for John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins and the Moto Rapido Ducati team.
Hopper had posted his fastest ever time around Cadwell Park in Q1 with a 1:27.130 lap before a crash at Park Corner in the next session injured his hand and ending his qualifying. A decision was made on Sunday morning to sit out the double-header at the Lincolnshire circuit, with swelling and lack of strength in Hopper’s right thumb from ligament damage meaning it would be unsafe to race.
Starting from pole position, Shakey got a good race start but Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) forced his way past to take the lead as riders entered Coppice for the first time. A couple of laps later the Be Wiser Ducati rider had a big moment at Mansfield, forcing his knee on the deck to keep his Panigale R upright and continue his race.
The incident dropped Shakey to 4th behind Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) as Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) and Haslam led at the front. Shakey was still 4th behind O’Halloran after half the race had been run. But shortly after, he went on to pass O’Halloran before the Honda rider momentarily took the position again going into Barn. But once back in 3rd Shakey did not relinquish the position, crossing the line behind Haslam and Dixon for the final podium position. Shakey’s result saw him claim another valuable podium point which will come in to play when the Showdown begins later next month.
Glenn Irwin continued to ride hampered by the injury sustained at Knockhill. He lined up on the grid in 16th but lost 3 places on his opening lap. He chipped away throughout the race, crossing the chequered flag just outside the Top 10 in 11th to collect 5 points and extend his 11th place championship position ahead of John Hopkins in 12th.
Shakey had started from the middle of the front row behind pole-sitter Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing). The Be Wiser Ducati rider got another good start but Dixon managed to beat him into Charlies corner to take 2nd. Jackson led the trio out at the front until Dixon made a move for the lead on Lap 5, only to crash out 4 laps later.
Shakey started his 10th lap in 2nd going on pass Jackson for the race lead. The championship leader was looking strong out in front as he raced towards victory. But disaster struck for Shakey on Lap 13 when his bike lost drive, forcing him to retire from the race whilst leading.
Shakey’s race retirement left his Be Wiser Ducati teammate Glenn Irwin as the sole Ducati rider on track. Irwin’s fastest Race 1 lap gave him an improved grid position of 12th for the start of Race 2. He rode consistent 1:27s lap-times around the ‘Mini-Nürburgring’ circuit, finishing the race in 9th and just 0.031s behind fellow Northern Irish rider Michael Laverty (McAms Yamaha).
Shakey leaves Cadwell Park continuing to the lead the championship, with Glenn Irwin 11th and Hopper in 13th.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati #67) - Race 1, 3rd – Race 2, DNF
“I guess it would be really, really easy to be down and negative and angry and whatever else because I feel like the last 2 rounds we’ve potentially given away 10 podium points.
I sat really, really pretty in there in 3rd for a long time and then Jake crashed. Because I’d been so careful I just thought right, ok, let’s go. I got a nice early move on Lee Bob. I’m chuffed for him and that’s probably the ride of his life he’s just done there. He stopped to give me a lift on the way back and I said mate go and enjoy your lap you’ve just finished on the podium, don’t worry about me!
But got to the lead and set about hitting all my markers and dropped back down in the 26s and thought, right this is it, 5 laps to go or whatever it was. Finally, 5 podium points. And then I come through the Gooseneck and the bike just jumped out of gear and wouldn’t select gears. I put my hand up and pulled to the side of the track. I couldn’t understand it at first because the chain was on and everything was on, but the bike was just sitting there spinning with the clutch out but the wheel wasn’t turning. So, I knew it was a retirement and a massive shame.
I’m gutted we’ve got 3 weeks off now to be honest. I’d like to go to Silverstone tomorrow and put it all right and try and actually score some wins for a change. But our time will come, we had a good run just recently. We just need to get back to that kind of form. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and the bad days make the good ones better so I think we should have some good ones coming.”
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati #2) - Race 1, 11th – Race 2, 9th
“Coming into this weekend I knew we’d got my shoulder stronger. Quite clearly, it’s not the out and out strength that’s the issue just yet. I have some nerve damage down into my triceps and that means that my triceps is not firing. So, if I go to go into a corner and your brain tells your arm to do whatever your body does, mine doesn’t do it. Sometimes you get it and sometimes you get where it’s just like a plastic pull in your arm. We talked yesterday morning about maybe not racing and the boys said go out in qualifying.
Qualifying was tough. I knew in the races with managing the tyres in Superbikes so critical, it’s something I think I’m quite good at. So, I always ride the races smoother and that in turn uses less energy. It’s nice to say that we’ve done our fastest time of the weekend on Lap 12 of Race 2. We know if we had to do qualifying again we could go maybe quicker. But I still think that’s down to the injury.
To be so aggressive in chicanes is just something that I can’t do. So, it was a little bit frustrating in that 2nd race when I caught the group of O’Halloran down to Laverty in the battel for 4th. I definitely felt like I could get to the Top 5, Top 6. I could see Tommy starting to struggle with his rear tyre. But Michael to be fair to him he’s got a lot of experience. He’s so hard to pass on the brakes. I done a move on the last lap and if it had been anyone else I’d have probably followed through with it. But for an 8th position I backed out of it. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve done it but it would’ve been a bit hard on Michael and I get on with him.
We’re coming out of here with a good record of no crashing, just one unfortunate one, that was nothing to do with me. To finish 10 seconds of the win in my condition, you know I’m sure we could’ve been in that podium battle. But we have what we have, we have to work hard. I think away from here I’ve learnt more now that it’s not strength, we’ve got to see some treatment that can wake nerves up. It will come, it’s not career ending. But it could be weeks or it could be months. It’s a frustrating when you do a ride like that. And a ride that should’ve been a couple of positions higher is a big positive. It’s hard to be happy with a 9th but it is good.”
John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati #21)
“So disappointed for having to sit out today’s races after solid start to the weekend for myself and the Moto Rapido Ducati Team. Although forced out of today’s Races, Moto Rapido and myself will be back faster and flying for the remainder of season.”
Iain Hopcroft, Moto Rapido Ducati Team Manager
“Simply amazing to have a doctor in the pitbox as John rode back in, then instant medical care and and X-ray done before the session had finished. Wonderful, highly skilled people that look after us.”