Triple Header’ headache for the Be Wiser Ducati Team

Triple Header’ headache for the Be Wiser Ducati Team

The ‘Triple Header’ weekend at Oulton Park didn’t go to plan for the Be Wiser PBM Ducati Team with a crash and poor starts ruining the chances for podium finishes for teammates Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Glenn Irwin.

Race 1 (Saturday)
Shakey started from pole after setting a new lap record in the morning’s qualifying session. A good start saw him lead for the first half of the lap before being passed near Clay Hill by James Ellison. The two riders were joined by Leon Haslam as they went on to pull a gap to the field behind them.

By half race distance Shakey was 3rd behind Ellison and Haslam and by Lap 14 the leading trio had a 4.7 second lead over Peter Hickman in 4th. But on the following lap Shakey had a highside on the exit of Hizzy’s Chicane. The Be Wiser rider managed to stay on his bike, riding through the gravel trap at Knickerbrook and eventually rejoining the circuit back to finish in 9th position.

Glenn Irwin had qualified just two tenths of a second of Oulton’s previous Superbike lap record in 12th. But disaster struck on the 3rd lap as Irwin lost the front of his bike as he braked over a bump going into Lodge, immediately ending his race and any chance of a Showdown finish.

Stuart Easton (Lloyds British Moto Rapido) continued to make good progress with his new Ducati team had claimed his first point finish for the team.

Race 2 (Sunday)
Starting from the front of the second row, Shakey had a huge wheelie off the line dropping him a couple of places. Misfortune struck again when the Be Wiser rider lowsided out of the race at Hizzy’s Chicane on Lap 5 while running in 7th place.

Glenn Irwin also had a poor opening lap, dropping back 3 places to 18th before getting into his rhythm and climbing back up the field. At half race distance Irwin was up to 14th. On Lap 10 Richard Cooper ran wide, moving Irwin up to 13th. Irwin went on to pass Kiyonari for 12th before Lee Jackson, John Hopkins and Michael Laverty crashed out in the final stages allowing Irwin to cross the chequered flag in 9th place.

Stuart Easton got a great start, passing 5 riders on his opening lap to claim 16th, before being passed himself by Irwin on Lap 2. Easton went on to hold on to 17th position for the first half of the race. Although he dropped down the field later on, he eventually finished back in 17th.

Race 3 (Sunday)
Shakey and Irwin both lined up for the final ‘Triple Header’ race of the weekend on the 4th row of the grid in 10th and 11th respectively. Irwin jumped the start so although the Superbike rookie found himself running up in 5th place by The Avenue, he had to take a ride-through penalty that dropped him to dead last down in 29th by Lap 3.

Another poor getaway by Shakey saw him drop 5 places back to 15th although he had managed to pass a couple of riders back by the start of Lap 3. Stuart Easton got the best start of the 3 Ducati riders making a couple of overtakes on his first lap that moved him up into 19th.

Jake Dixon had a nasty crash on Lap 4, with the safety car coming out to bunch the field back up. Shakey was up to 11th by the time the safety car came in at the end of Lap 8. Further down the pack Irwin was on a charge and by Lap 10 was up to 22nd. On Lap 11 he overtook 3 riders and gained yet another position when Dan Linfoot crashed out of the race. Shakey too was climbing up the pack, passing Christian Iddon for 7th and then going on to get the better of Lee Jackson into Hizzy’s Chicane for 6th before taking 5th from Richard Cooper.

Shakey eventually crossed the line in 5th, just 0.063 seconds behind Michael Laverty and less than 5 seconds behind winner Leon Haslam. Irwin had managed to cut his way through the field from 29th to finish in an impressive 11th while Stuart Easton was just outside the points in 16th.

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne – Be Wiser Ducati
“I was really looking forward to Oulton Park because we had a tough round here back in May. I thought we had made enough progress that we would be really, really competitive and we proved that with the fastest ever lap round here yesterday afternoon. The first race yesterday was tough because the bike was great for a few laps but then after the tyre dropped off a little bit, it became really difficult to control and then ended up flicking myself off track and having a crap race.

Race 2 this morning I had just got myself going and settled in and thought let’s start moving forward a little bit and before I knew it I was upside down. So this afternoon I thought right third time lucky but then had a bad start and got bashed about a bit. It’s a bit frustrating with our bike as it is so good on the track on its own when you have a clear lap. As soon as I get on the back of the four cylinders, I can’t get the grunt or the drive out of the corners, I catch them up on the corners and then lose out on the straight. We can take some positives out of the race because every time we are in the lead in the race we know we can win so it is not as if it has gone completely wrong. So I can’t wait to get to Donington Park and turn it round.”

Glenn Irwin – Be Wiser Ducati
“I put a good lap in during qualifying, just outside the lap record, but have never really felt comfortable on the bike this weekend. We have struggled with setup, we found a pace where we can be quick over a lap or two but not found a race pace that I am comfortable with. Results don’t reflect what could have been and it’s all through my own fault. We struggled a little bit through this weekend with the pace we perhaps wanted to show. At the minute because we’re not in the showdown or the championship hunt. It’s all about next year. We’ve learnt a lot about Oulton Park this weekend, some areas of the track I was struggling with thinking it was the bike. It was clearly little things I was doing. Results weren’t mega but my pace was alright.”

Stuart Easton – Lloyds British Moto Rapiodo
“We’ve tried a lot of different setup options and I didn’t really make the big breakthrough that we’re looking for in terms of setup. There are positives in there, I had two 16 place finishes and a 15th. But just a single point to show for all the work is disappointing. We’ve tried a lot with the bike so we can take that all to Donington next week, not long to wait. Pace wise, we’re running a second off so we’re 20-odd seconds off at the flag. So that’s where I’m at, at the minute. I need to build on that, close the gap and find a bit of pace.”