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‘Shakey' Byrne reveals further impressions of the Aprilia after second test

‘Shakey' Byrne reveals further impressions of the Aprilia after second test

‘Shakey' Byrne reveals further impressions of the Aprilia after second test

British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne completed his second outing with his new Aprilia last week in Valencia shortly after learning that his team-mate for 2004 will be another Brit and former rider with the manufacturer Jeremy McWilliams.

Although the 39 year old veteran was not able to join his 26 year old rookie compatriot, Byrne still went about the business of familiarising himself with his new steed in effective fashion. Over the course of the three days steering the '03 bike he racked up over 200 laps of the Ricardo Tomo circuit and made particularly good progress in the second session when he lowered his best lap-time by two seconds. By the end of the test he was clocking mid-to-low 1.35s; enough to place him on the fifth row of the grid at the final GP of 2003 held at the same venue.

Experienced rider Marcellino Lucchi was trying development parts for the 2004 version of the four-stroke while Byrne also got to sample some upgrades. "The first test and the first few laps on this bike were unbelievable; it was so fast. But now I getting more used to the change," the Briton commented. "The bike worked well in Jerez and we did some good laps, we struggled a little bit here but I knew the track even if it was very different with a MotoGP bike compared to a superbike. We are currently making a lot of changes for the machine to suit me and I am feeling very positive. There has not been a session where we have tried something different and gone slower. We did lots of laps and I achieved what I wanted."

Regarding his alliance with Jeremy McWilliams, who is currently out in California training at Kenny Roberts' ranch with Roberts Jnr and Randy Mamola amongst others, Byrne remarked:

"He's a good guy and I'm happy that he's my team-mate. The language is obviously a big help and I hope we will be able to work closely together. He has perhaps more experience than anyone else out there and that will be great for me particularly at the circuits I don't know."

Shakey also had some words concerning the switch to Michelin tyres: "I've raced with Dunlop my whole career but Michelin are the dominant brand at this level and the change does not bother me. I've come to MotoGP and my eyes are open to look and watch, and my ears are open to hear and learn. I just want to take onboard as much as I can. I have already seen some things at this test just through watching the others out on the track."

The next test for the Aprilia team and McWilliams' first will be in the middle of January.

MotoGP, 2003

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