Shane 'Shakey' Byrne smashed the MCE British Superbike Championship lap record at Snetterton this afternoon as the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider threw the gauntlet down to his rivals with just over a week to go until the season opener at Brands Hatch (18-21 April).
Byrne had been improving his pace throughout the day with the triple champion waiting until the final session of the day to set a time of 1m:47.955s, his blistering pace 0.068 seconds under the current Superbike specification lap record.
Byrne said: "This has been a good test for us and it shows that over the winter the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team haven't stood still. Snetterton for us in the past few years hasn't been our strongest track, but I have really worked well with the new 17" Pirelli tyres, so to come here and end like this has been great. I did push in the final session for a lap, but I think if we had managed some more then we could have been even quicker so we are happy now and ready for Brands Hatch."
Millsport Ducati held second on the timesheets despite sitting out the final hour after a crash in the penultimate session, the Czech rider holding off a charging Chris Walker on the leading Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki in third place.
Honda UK Racing’s return to the track ahead of their wildcard performances this season started positively with Frenchman Julien Da Costa holding fourth position ahead of Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins in the final stages.
James Ellison edged ahead of Dan Linfoot to lock out sixth place as Stuart Easton improved his pace in the final session onboard the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki. Ryuichi Kiyonari overcame a small crash on his final run to still hold ninth place ahead of his Buildbase BMW race debut at Brands Hatch, just ahead of his team-mate James Westmoreland.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, official test, Snetterton, combined times:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 1m:47.955s
2. Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) +0.648s
3. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +0.976s
4. Julien Da Costa (Honda Racing UK) +1.159s
5. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +1.304s
6. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.574s
7. Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +1.748s
8. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.808s
9. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +1.894s
10. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +1.986s
Advance weekend tickets for the season opener at Brands Hatch, valid for all four days, cost £33 online at www.brandshatch.co.uk. Children under 13 go free.
For more information please visit www.britishsuperbike.com