The Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team got their 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship season started off right when Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne from the UK, riding a Ducati Panigale R, finished in 2nd at -0.099 second, 2:06.735, and Jason O’Halloran from Australia, riding a Honda CBR 1000RR, came in a close 4th at -1.395, 2:06.875.
The 39-year-old Londoner was hoping for a good performance following a winter of development and testing on the brand new bike, which the Italian factory has given to the Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team. With difficult weather conditions throughout the race weekend, the four-time MCE BSB champion qualified for today’s opening 14-lap race in fourth place, which was a minimum expectation. From the start in his first race on the bike, Byrne established the lead with a plan to amplify the pace later in the race, which is exactly what he did.
Shakey started the second race from the front row, but as the race progressed, Byrne managed to climb the order before challenging for the victory on the last lap. Shakey momentarily took the lead, but ultimately lost out on the drag to the line with Peter Hickman taking the win.
Team-mate Glenn Irwin, making his debut in MCE BSB, was equally impressive on his first competitive rides on the Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, gaining his objectives and some firm points in the opening round. The 26-year-old started as 17th on the grid, but was able to climb as high as 13th before settling for 14th at the flag.
Overall, an excellent race for the team, and the points scored at the end of the day capped a brilliant performance.