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Double Podium For Byrne At Brands Hatch

The PBM team's defence of their MCE British Superbike Championship continued this weekend with round two taking place at Brands Hatch and with a brace of second places for reigning champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, he maintained his position as overall leader with team-mate Stuart Easton taking two top six finishes to move up to fourth overall.

Byrne and Easton lined up in fifth and sixth for the opening 30-lap race around the demanding 1.2-mile Indy circuit and in the early stages occupied third and fourth places respectively. Easton dropped back slightly whilst Shakey looked like he'd have to settle for third as James Ellison and Ryuichi Kiyonari moved clear at the head of the pack. However, a safety car period towards the end of the race bunched the pack up and Byrne took full advantage of a small mistake by Kiyonari to seize second on the final lap with Easton coming home in sixth.

Shakey, from Sittingbourne, started the second race from the front row whilst Easton was back on the third row and had a lot more work to do although he was soon up into fifth place. Just like the first race, Ellison assumed control but Shakey looked strong in second place and although another safety car period allowed him to close up to Ellison, he had to settle for another second place at the chequered flag. Easton, from Hawick, held on to his fifth place throughout to take a good haul of points and move up to fourth overall in the early championship table.

The PBM team's third member, Ian Hutchinson, again used the meeting as preparation for the International road racing season which gets underway next month, and took 22nd and 25th in the two races.

Shane Byrne: "We were up against it a bit this weekend but I was feeling better in myself and with the bike although we still haven't quite cracked it with the set-up. The team worked really hard throughout and we continued to make progress with the bike better in race one than it had been in qualifying. I was over the moon with second place and it allowed me to start the second race from the front row. I tried my absolute hardest and maybe if I'd got by Kiyo a little bit earlier, I might have been closer to James. As it was, I couldn't get close enough but hats off to him and also to PBM and everyone in the team for doing such a great job this weekend."

Stuart Easton: "It wasn't the strongest weekend I've ever had and I've never really had the grip I've wanted so I wasn't able to run the pace of the front group. I was a bit disappointed with sixth in the first race and although it was a top six finish, the gap to the front three was too big and although I was a bit closer in the second race we need to work on bridging that gap as I want to be closer to the front."

Ian Hutchinson: "It's been quite a tough weekend as it's such a short circuit, it's hard to stay out of trouble! My season's all about the big road races and the last thing I wanted was to get caught up in someone else's accident but I was happy with my results, particularly as I lapped quicker than what I've ever done before around here. We've achieved what we set out to achieve and it will be nice to get to Oulton Park and put in plenty of laps around a fast, flowing circuit."

Johnny Mowatt, Crew Chief: "You're never happy when you don't get a win but the team collectively pulled it out of the bag this weekend and for Shakey to get two seconds was a great effort for all of us. It's not an excuse but we're playing catch up a bit and we're continually making major changes to the bike. We're altering things all the time and still learning whilst we've still got new parts to try. We'll keep chipping away and for Shakey to have taken a win and three seconds from the first four races and Stuart to have finished inside the top six on three occasions, we're not in a bad position and the future's looking bright."

MCE British Superbike Championship - Race One (33 laps)
1 James Ellison (Kawasaki)
2 Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)
3 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
4 Ryuichi Kiyonari (BMW)
5 Jason O'Halloran (Honda)
6 Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki)
22 Ian Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki)

MCE British Superbike Championship - Race Two (25 laps)
1 James Ellison (Kawasaki)
2 Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)
3 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
4 Ryuichi Kiyonari (BMW)
5 Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki)
6 Tommy Bridewell (BMW)
25 Ian Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki)

Championship standings (after two rounds)
1 Byrne 85pts
2 Ellison 79
3 Brookes 58
4 Easton 42
5 Linfoot 33
6 Kiyonari 28

The third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place at Oulton Park in two weeks' time (2/4 May). For more information, please visit www.britishsuperbike.com and the brand new team website www.pbmuk.net.

Pictures: Jon Jessop Photography