Irwin, who won the North West 200 in his last race on board his Ducati Panigale R, suffered a ‘suspected dislocated shoulder and elbow’ and has returned home for rest and further treatment.
Starting from the front of the second row, Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne’s race could have easily been all over at the first corner. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) ran in too hot at Duffus Dip with Shakey having to avoid clipping the Honda rider’s rear wheel, subsequently moving the Be Wiser Ducati Team rider several positions down in to 7th place.
By half race distance Shakey was up into 4th and starting to pressure O’Halloran for 3rd, eventually making a move in the inside into Taylor’s Hairpin and finishing behind Jake Dixon (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) and Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) for a valuable podium position.
John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) had started towards the rear of the grid in 18th after suffering technical issues during qualifying. But the American made several passes on the opening laps as he cut his way through the field and was running up in 9th by half race distance. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) then crashed out while making a pass on Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) meant an impressive 7th place finish.
Shakey got a clean getaway as the lights went out for the second race of the day at Knockhill, holding on to his 5th place grid position. A couple of laps later he had got the better of Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) into Taylor’s Hairpin for 4th. By 1/3 race distance the Be Wiser Ducati Team rider had passed Mossey and was now in 3rd, a position he held for almost half the race.
On Lap 23 of 30, Dixon took 3rd from Shakey on his charge to his second win of the day. But Shakey was not to be outdone and capitalised on the penultimate lap when Mossey went wide at Taylor’s Hairpin, taking 3rd from him again and claiming his second podium finish of the day.
Hopper had a much-improved grid position for Race 2, starting mid-pack in 11th. Sadly, the Moto Rapido Ducati rider suffered a lack of rear grip throughout his race – halting any progress and denying him an improvement on his earlier 7th place finish. Hopper passed the chequered flag in 17th.
Shakey now stands 3rd in the British Superbike Championship with 90 points, while his Be Wiser Ducati teammate Glenn Irwin (absent following his Friday crash) moves out of the Top 6 down to 9th with 63 points. Hopper is currently 14th with 31 points.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati #67) – 3rd
“It’s been a very difficult weekend. Incredibly difficult. It was only until morning Warm Up today that I got to within 1 tenth to the time I did here last year. So, in some ways I guess you could say we’ve taken a step backwards which is really frustrating because I know how much effort the guys have put in and how hard I’ve tried this weekend.
We’ve just not been there this weekend. We’ve been thereabouts in lap times and we’ve been top of the time sheets but from a feeling point of view it just hasn’t been right. We’ve searched and searched and searched. We’ve probably made more changes this weekend then we do in 3 or 4 normal race weekends put together. We’ve had new forks in, we’ve had different pivot positions, we’ve had different offsets in it, we’ve had different springs in it. We’ve done literally everything and combinations of all of those as well. There’s no lack of effort from the boys and certainly no lack of effort from me. I feel like I’ve done two 24 hour races back to back. I never get tired riding this bike and I train really hard to make sure I’m always fit and always strong and I’ve trained especially hard just lately.
We’ve certainly got work to do, the other bikes appear to be a little more agile at these tight and twisty tracks than ours is. That said, going forward, we’ve got ourselves into the Showdown now, we got some podium credits, we’ve come away with two podiums on a bad day and we got a good run of tracks coming up for us and we can look forward to them and try and get ourselves back on the top step again.”
John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati #21) – 17th
“I did the best I could in Race 1, we ended up finishing 7th and from where we started I was pretty happy with that. Knowing our pace and what we could achieve here and the level of the bike and so forth I really felt like we could get a podium here.
Race 2, I got off the line horribly, did a little bit of a stutter and then we ended up having some rear grip issue. I literally had no rear grip from the beginning of the race. I was skating into corners, sliding up every corner. And that combined with my hand – my breaking and throttle hand – on a circuit like this I literally could not hang on anymore. I stayed out in the chance that people would unfortunately DNF so we could salvage some points… I was hoping to get our season underway properly here, we’re going to have to roll that onto the next round and do well there. I’m still really confident we can make the showdown.”