BSB

Shane Byrne Leaves Donington With Points Lead After Race Two Victory

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Defending champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne leads the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of his home round of Brands Hatch as the PBM Kawasaki rider fended off a hard-charging Dan Linfoot to secure the race two win at Donington Park.

There was drama before the race even got underway for race one winner James Ellison as the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider had a problem with the battery, which meant he was forced to start from the back of the grid after the team frantically worked to get him out on circuit. The Kendal rider charged through the field to salvage a 12th place finish.

On the opening lap Byrne led the field into Redgate for the first time, with Stuart Easton, Dan Linfoot and Ryuichi Kiyonari in close contention as Josh Brookes also pushed to add to his podium-finishing tally.

Linfoot was soon up to second and was piling the pressure on the defending champion, taking the lead on the fifth lap for the first time onboard the Honda Racing Fireblade. There was more disappointment for Buildbase BMW in the second race as Kiyonari suffered a huge high-side on the sixth lap, which saw him crash out of contention. He was left battered and bruised but showing his frustration in the gravel trap.

The crash left Australian Josh Brookes running off track too as he took evasive action, which dropped him down the order, but a determined ride meant he clawed his way up to sixth for Milwaukee Yamaha.

Meanwhile at the front Linfoot was defending hard and despite Byrne pushing to make a move, he wasn't going to give up the position without a fight. By lap 11 'Shakey' had edged ahead, but the pair were inseparable as Easton waited in the wings to take the advantage if the opportunity arose.

Byrne was trying to gap his Honda rival but Linfoot was strong on the brakes into the Esses and two laps later he regained the lead, however as the pair went side-by-side into Melbourne it was Byrne who exited the hairpin ahead.

By lap 17 the pair were really scrapping in their quest for supremacy with positions changing five times in one lap as they gunned for the second race win of the day. Linfoot had held the lead over the line, only for Linfoot to attack at Hollywood, with Byrne reclaiming the advantage before the Old Hairpin. The pair then swapped positions again at the Esses and at Melbourne before the decisive last lap decider.

Byrne had held the position and despite Linfoot's best efforts he claimed second place with Easton returning to the podium in third.

"Honestly I didn't know what to expect this weekend." Byrne said. "I said after race one that I felt quietly confident that we would get stronger but I didn't expect to go one stronger in race two to be honest! We have all been around a long time and we know you can never expect anything.

"I expected a battle with Kiyo, Josh and James and then I was racing with Stuart and Dan. The battles with Kiyo last year were so intense because of what was at stake but this was the start of the season! To have a good old fashion bumping and racing with Dan, who is young and keen, in that race, reminded me a lot of how I raced with Alex in 2013.

"Dan rode really well and to be honest I just wanted someone in front of me because every time I got in front I made little mistakes as I am a little rusty, but now we can build off this and the PBM Kawasaki will only get stronger. I am only going to get stronger and fitter myself and I think we can be even stronger going into the next races and we will have a good plan for Brands Hatch.

"I was a little disappointed after qualifying as we were two tenths off, but the reality is I should have only taken the plaster off my hand on the Thursday before this race so to leave with a second and first place I really can't grumble! We have been working really hard this weekend to get a better feeling and now it is onwards and upwards!"

In the next group Peter Hickman scored an impressive fourth place for RAF Reserves BMW with Christian Iddon scoring fifth place for the Bennetts Suzuki team on their debut. Michael Laverty was back inside the top ten in seventh ahead of team-mate Tommy Bridewell.

Australian Billy McConnell bounced back from his race one crash to finish ninth for Smiths Racing BMW with Chris Walker completing the top ten as his Be Wiser Kawasaki team-mate crashed out unhurt.

For the remainder of the Australian riders it was Honda's Jason O'Halloran leading the way in 11th position with Bennetts Suzuki's Josh Waters in 15th and MotoDex Performance First Racing's David Johnson in 26th.

Milwaukee Yamaha's Broc Parkes recorded a DNF

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, race two result:
1. Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)
2. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +0.589s
3. Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) +1.331s
4. Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves BMW) +3.343s
5. Christian Iddon (Bennetts Suzuki) +4.239s
6. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +5.327s
7. Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +8.786s
8. Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) +9.311s
9. Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing BMW) +10.931s
10. Chris Walker (Be Wiser Kawasaki) +11.346s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, standings after Donington Park:
1. Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) 45
2. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) 33
3. James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 29
4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 26
5. Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves BMW) 24
6. Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) 219

The 2015 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship returns to Brands Hatch in Kent on 17/18/19 April for round two.

Top Image: Shane Byrne Leaves Donington With Points Lead After Race Two Victory

Credit: www.britishsuperbike.com

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