Byrne gears up for new Ducati challenge

The second half of Shane Byrne`s 2009 season on the Sterilgarda Ducati turned out to be a positive one as the 34-year-old Londoner finished six times in the top 5, with a second place at Misano his overall best result. This year ‘Shakey` has changed team but the bike, a Ducati 1098, remains exactly the same. With less than ten days to go before his debut with the Rome-based Althea Racing squad on January 22, Byrne spoke to WorldSBK.com about his hopes and expectations in view of the start of competitive action next week.
“First of all I want to work with my new team. I`ve already worked with a few of the guys before and it`ll be good to see some familiar faces. It`ll also be good to work in such a professional squad, especially with Carlos Checa alongside. He`s got a lot of experience and I`m sure he`ll be a great team-mate. I was on a Ducati 1098 last year and we`ll start off by working with the set-up I used in the last race, and then move on and try a few new things”.

This season is an excellent chance for Byrne, twice a race winner in World Superbike back in 2003 at Brands Hatch, to become a true contender in the production-based series and he will be looking to improve on last year`s eighth place overall. “I`m aiming to get on the podium more than last year and get amongst the front-runners. Last season we had a few problems, we didn`t get the best start and this cost me a lot in terms of results and points. I don`t think this will happen again with the Althea team. The 2010 season won`t be easy, but I can`t wait for it to begin.”

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