Shakey begins the Showdown in style with a double win at Donington Park
- 2 wins, fastest lap and a pole for Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne at the first Showdown Round as he regains championship lead
- Top 10 finish for Glenn Irwin
- Stuart Easton picks up points in race 2
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne reignited his charge towards an unprecedented 5th BSB title today, winning both opening Showdown races at Donington Park. Race 1
Having qualified on the front row in 2nd, Shakey initially found himself in 3rd place for the first couple of laps before getting the better of the current Championship leader Leon Haslam at the Old Hairpin. On Lap 3 Shakey then out-braked James Ellison at the bottom of the hill to take the lead of the race.
Leon Haslam was soon in 2nd place and despite looking like he was waiting to later challenge for the lead himself, Shakey gradually pulled away from the Kawasaki rider. By half race distance Shakey had set a new lap record of 1:29.136 seconds and had almost half a second in hand. The Be Wiser rider continued to post consistently fast lap times going on to take the chequered flag comfortably with a gap of almost 6 seconds over Haslam. Jason O’Halloran took the final podium position, finishing a further 10 seconds behind.
Glenn Irwin and Stuart Easton had both started from Row 5 in positions 15 and 16. But both riders had gained a position before the lights went out as Alastair Sealey, who also shared a Row 5 start with Ducati riders, crashed on his sighting lap.
Irwin was as high as 12th by Lap 5 and finished the race in 13th position. Easton, who had been running in the points in 15th, was forced to retire on Lap 9 after having problems selecting gears. Race 2
The lap record set by Shakey in the previous race saw him start from pole, but by the end of the first lap the Be Wiser rider was once again was in 3rd position, with Ellison leading and Haslam in 2nd.
Irwin had started from 13th and held that position, while Easton managed to make up 3 places on his opening lap to climb up to 15th.
On Lap 4 Shakey posted another lap record with a time of 1:28.896 and a couple of laps later it was his teammate Irwin who was on the move as he passed Billy McConnell to take 12th.
By half race distance Shakey had passed Ellison and was now running in 2nd place behind Haslam, before going on to pass the Kawasaki rider going into the Melbourne Hairpin a couple of laps later. Haslam tried to stop Shakey getting away but his race was ruined moments later when he crashed out unhurt at Redgate.
By the last lap Shakey had a comfortable gap of 2 seconds over Dan Linfoot, celebrating in style when he passed the chequered flag on his back wheel.
Irwin eventually succumbed to pressure from McConnell to finish 10th while Easton once again picked up points with a 14th place.
Shakey’s double victory sees him leading the BSB championship once more, with 593 points to Haslam’s 566. Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne
“It’s been a great weekend. The first session obviously was wet and I started that by flicking myself on an in-lap and smashing my bike up, which wasn’t ideal. Yesterday and Friday afternoon especially were quite a lot cooler than today and because of that it was a little bit hit or miss as to what tyre to use. If I can ride on my own the Ducati works the tyre really well. It’s when I get stuck in a battle with Leon for instance who brakes really, really deep but doesn’t have a load of corner speed then accelerates really, really hard it really hurts me a lot.
So in the first race I need to get out to the front and control it but the second race was a little bit tougher. I stayed in 3rd for a bit and felt almost ridiculously comfortable. But I knew there was going to be some harsh moves. I’m not an idiot and I’ve been around a long time and raced a lot of fast guys and a lot of strong guys and I’ve raced a lot of guys that you sometimes don't want to be around on a race track. I wanted to make sure when I went through I really, really got my head down and it was straight away make a bit of a break. So I waited for my moment, got to the front and pushed on for a few laps.
Believe it or not I saw a sign on my board. I tend to look at the amount of people that I’m racing with and the laps to go and the gap that I have but I can’t normally look at all 3 in one go. So I looked to see how many laps I had and the next lap I come round I saw a really weird thing on my board and I thought it said ‘LH OUT’ but I wasn’t sure. And I thought, ‘It can't be Leon, not at Donington, that just wouldn’t happen’. So anyway, the gap went up a tiny bit and then I saw that it was Dan that was 2nd. To be honest with you I kind of rolled a little bit and the gap came back down on 1 lap and I thought, ‘no, no, no! If it is Leon out I don’t want to be losing an extra 5 points’. So Dan forced me to get my head down again and I had to push on for the last few laps and maintain the gap.
I’m absolutely over the moon for the Be Wiser Ducati Team. They’ve done a great job this weekend and it's a great start to the Showdown for us. But there are still 5 very, very, very tough races to come. Fingers crossed at the end of them all we’ll still be where we are now but it's never quite that straight forward.” Glenn Irwin – Be Wiser Ducati
“The Ducati is a really good bike but it’s hard to get off the line. Unfortunately we’ve struggled a bit this weekend and you get a bad start and you get guys in front of you that you don’t want to get in front of you. I could say that I had the pace to maybe be ahead of Mossey and people like that there. Which isn't bad when we’re coming back after 3 crashes in quick succession. I’m a bit battered and not totally myself. I’m going to go home and see a shoulder specialist because my arms are in bits and getting really heavily fatigued.
In that Race 2 I tried everything, I gave everything I had to keep them guys behind me but it’s tough going, especially carrying some injuries. It was a step better I guess as well in confidence but it would have been nice to keep 9th on the last lap. We got a step away back from where we should be.
The important thing now is to go and recover for 10 days before we make the journey to Assen and try to arrive there with piece of mind knowing that we have no damage to any of the muscles in my shoulder because I’m in quite a lot of pain and my grip’s not great just at the minute. Well done to Shakey on his double win and back on the top of the championship.” Paul Bird – Team owner
“The goal is to come and win both races. That’s always the goal. To do it in round 1 of the Showdown is fantastic. And obviously this is a good circuit for Leon and Kawasaki, so good to get maximum points. We’ve got to get our heads down now and get ready for Assen.”