Shaky start for Shane Byrne at Jerez

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Shaky start for Shane Byrne at Jerez

The first leg of the Gran Premio Marlboro de España witnessed the debut of Team Roberts' new KTM-powered Proton KR – and an early retirement for rider Shane "Shakey" Byrne, owing to problems with the bike's engine during the second lap.

Persistent engine problems during the Saturday qualifying session had already relegated the British rider to a 20th place starting position. The team thought they had eliminated the engine trouble during the pre-race warm-up on Sunday, after a misfire, but the trouble resurfaced during the season's first big race to leave Byrne trackside and unable to continue.

Speaking after a disappointing end to the to his first race of the season, Byrne commented, "I had a bit of a problem with the engine spluttering in the warm-up, and we thought it was fixed - but it came back early in the race. I pulled to the side of the track, and the engine wasn't running right, so there was no point in going on."

"We just seem to solve one problem and then get another but the team are fantastic and I'm really confident we will get it right."

"It's been one of those weekends when everything that could go wrong did go wrong - but we learned a lot, and I'm much happier chassis-wise. There's plenty of potential there," he added.

As if the former British Superbike Champion had not experienced enough bike trouble for one weekend, more was to ensue late Sunday night when he crashed over the handle bars of his scooter while out riding with Chaz Davies, Casey Stoner and Alex Hofmann. He escaped the accident with skinned hands and a skinned arm.

Speaking after the incident Byrne said, "I will be fit to ride in Estoril after my crash on the scooter on Sunday. I've taken some skin off my hands and arm but otherwise I'm fine."

In preparation for the impending betandwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal, Byrne drove to Estoril on Monday to have an early first look at the Estoril circuit – he missed the Estoril race last year due to a wrist injury he sustained after crashing in a prior race

"It's my first visit to Estoril and so we're getting down there early and Chaz Davies is showing me round. Obviously I was 'gutted' to break down so early in Jerez but although it may not look like it, we are making headway."

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