Snetterton is set for a bumper weekend as the Superbikes take over Norfolk’s prized circuit.
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Tomorrow’s two races will complete round three of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, which returns to action following a six-week break.
And that break could have felt like a long time for series leader and three-times champion Shane Byrne, given his main title rival Josh Brookes ended his winning streak at Oulton Park.
But Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Shakey has already reiterated his excitement at getting back to action in Norfolk – with his record of three podiums in his last four races at the track justifying his confidence.
Byrne also dipped under the Snetterton 300 lap record pace in pre-season testing – and was flying during Friday’s free practice at the top of the time sheets.
“The conditions couldn’t have been much better,” said Shakey. “We had quite a good gap to the rest of the field in the morning and then this afternoon, I think we found a big improvement on the bike right at the end.
“I went out for the last four or five laps and my rhythm got much faster. Those laps were the first time this weekend I’ve really loved riding my bike. I always enjoy riding my bike, but those laps we found something and I loved it.
“So I hope we can continue in that direction, perfect it all and see what Sunday brings.”
Snetterton marks the return of Honda Racing, who won at the track last year with champion Alex Lowes. They have sorted World Endurance champion Julien Da Costa for their ride – and he didn’t disappoint by clocking the session’s second-fastest time behind Byrne. And that may yet be only the start of Honda’s impact.
“I don’t know really what to expect,” said Da Costa. “The Honda can win for sure; I’ve got to find the right setting. Everybody knows there are very fast riders in BSB, so my goal is the top 10 to start the weekend and then the top five.”
• Championship organisers MSVR will also pay a special tribute at Snetterton to Simon Andrews and Karl Harris, who both recently lost their lives while competing at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT road races respectively.
Prior to Sunday’s opening Superbikes race, Andrews’ Marham-based RAF Reserves Honda and Karl’s Harris’ 1999 European Superstock Championship-winning GR Motorsport Suzuki will be positioned ahead of the starting grid.
The B-17 Flying Fortress Sally-B will also perform an air display, followed by a low-level flypast by Marham RAF Tornado GR4.
• Of the home riders hoping to go well, Marham’s RAF Reserves rider Conor Cummins should be on a high after two podiums during the Isle of Man TT.
He has had two strong rides in the first two rounds of the Superstock 1000 series to date.
Norwich’s Matt Layt is set to return to the Supersport class this weekend after his knee problems.
Fellow Norwich rider Jack Keen and Gorleston’s Charlie King will be eager to impress at their home track in the competitive Superstock 600.
• Tickets are available to purchase on the day throughout the event, with free entry for under-13s.