THE Louth based HM Plant Honda team return to action this weekend for the opening Showdown round for the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park as the final phase of the season gets underway in Leicestershire.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne currently lies second in the overall standings, just seven points adrift of the championship lead and following the previous round at Cadwell Park believes the HM Plant Honda team will be ready to challenge for victories again this weekend.
The last time Shakey raced at the track he secured a pole position and two race wins on his way to securing his second BSB title in 2008.
Defending champion Ryuichi Kiyonari currently lies sixth in the standings ahead of the Donington Park event and knows that he needs to start winning races again to ensure that he moves up the order ahead of the final two rounds at Silverstone and Brands Hatch after this weekend.
The team will not replace the injured Jason O’Halloran in the National Superstock 1000 Championship this weekend, but the Australian is expected to return at the penultimate round at Silverstone.
Shakey said: “I am really buzzing about getting to Donington Park and the Showdown now. The HM Plant Honda team have worked hard all season and now we are planning for the final three rounds and formulating our plan of attack! We found some changes at Cadwell Park to make the HM Plant Honda stronger and we have been winning races and on the podium all season so there is no reason why that should change now it is the Showdown.
“To be champion everyone knows you need to work harder, push harder and myself and the HM Plant Honda team are going to be giving one hundred and ten percent to try and end the season as the 2011 British Superbike champions.”
Kiyo said: “For Donington Park we have some ideas on some more improvements we can make following the test and then the three races at Cadwell Park as we have a better understanding. I am half looking forward to this weekend and the Showdown starting and half nervous; I think the six of us are probably all the same!
“The circuit is one of my favourite though and I have missed it since the last time we raced there so for me I am excited to be back there. I think the Showdown is going to be harder than the Main Season as it is a different pressure now.
“There are so many different stories that can happen before the final round at Brands Hatch and we cannot make any mistakes, but you also need to try and win every race as otherwise it will not be enough to be champion. I hope we can do that at Donington Park this weekend.”
Team Manager Havier Beltran concluded: “It is now the important part of the season and ahead of the Showdown both Shakey and Kiyo know what they need to do and that is to win races and consistently finish ahead of the other riders.
“Since Cadwell Park the whole team have been working hard so that we can approach the final three rounds ready to fight for the title and we are confident that we have the best package with the HM Plant Honda Fireblade to retain the number one plate.”