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Pic by Bonnie Lane

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and the Be Wiser Ducati team led the unofficial test times on the third day of pre-season testing at Cartagena as the defending champion overcame his previous struggles at the Spanish track to kick off his 2018 campaign.  

The six-time champion and team-mate Glenn Irwin utilised two days on track at Cartagena before they now head to Monteblanco to test alongside the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and Honda Racing teams, but are confident of the improvements they have made at the track that had previously been difficult for them in 2016.

Byrne’s time put him just ahead of Bennetts BSB rookie Gino Rea as the OMG Suzuki rider continues to adapt to the Superbike as he prepares for his debut season which gets underway at Donington Park this Easter. The former Moto2 star will continue his transition over the coming days before returning to the UK for the official test at Donington Park on March 20.

Michael Laverty has been enjoying his return to the Tyco BMW squad as he dipped into the 1m:33s barrier, readjusting to the BMW and with two further days on track at Cartagena is confident of further improvements.

Jake Dixon and the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team arrived at Cartagena yesterday afternoon fresh from an initially shakedown at Calafat. The Bennetts BSB race winner has been building momentum as he bids to build on his Showdown position last season with the team.

Josh Brookes has been getting to grips with the McAMS Yamaha as the 2015 champion continues their testing programme at the Spanish circuit as he continues to evaluate a number of different parts and is feeling happy with the initial progress.

Irwin had overcome food poisoning to improve his pace on the second of the Be Wiser Ducatis, aiming to replicate the style of his title-winning team-mate to take another step forward in the final session, equalling the time set by Brookes and Christian Iddon on the second of the Tyco BMWs.

Taylor Mackenzie overcame a small crash to equal the 1m:34.1s lap time; adapting well to the Moto Rapido Ducati to finish narrowly ahead of Danny Buchan who had his opening sessions on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki.

Tarran Mackenzie continues to take steps forward on the McAMS Yamaha, adjusting well to the Superbike and Tommy Bridewell overcame some ECU issues from the morning session to notch up the afternoon session as he prepares for this 2018 season with the Halsall Racing Suzuki team.

Smiths Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman and Sylvain Barrier used their opening day as a shakedown before moving onto their development programme tomorrow with the team set for two days at Cartagena then a further three at Jerez and the same at Guadix.

Cartagena Test, Day three times (unofficial supplied by teams):

1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:32.7s
2. Gino Rea (OMG Racing Suzuki) 1m:33.4s
= Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) 1m:33.4s
4. Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 1m:33.6s
5. Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:34.1s
= Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:34.1s
= Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 1m:34.1s
= Taylor Mackenzie (Moto Rapido Ducati) 1m:34.1s
9. Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 1m:34s
10. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:34.5s
11. Tommy Bridewell ( Halsall Racing Suzuki) 1m:35.0s

The opening round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship kicks off at Donington Park this Easter weekend (March 31 - April 2).

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04-03-2018, 01:08 PM
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