With rumours abound that Shakey might be heading back to international racing, the announcement has just been made that he’ll be sticking with BSB and the Paul Bird Motorsport team in 2014.
Here’s the team press release.
Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) are ready to fight to regain the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title in 2014 after confirming the return of triple champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne alongside the reigning Motorpoint British Supersport champion, Stuart Easton.
PBM have retained Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence specialists Rapid Solicitors as title partner for the third consecutive season. They are one of the most successful teams in the series having secured three title wins with Byrne and the late Steve Hislop, scoring consecutive titles in 2002 and 2003, and are already focused on 2014 as the team bid to break more records. Byrne surpassed the record of all time wins in the Championship in 2013, claiming a milestone 50th victory at Oulton Park this year, with his closest rival Ryuichi Kiyonari holding 43.
Easton is set for a return to the Superbike class having sealed a second British Supersport title this season. The Scottish rider is reunited with the team he last raced with in 2012 after fighting back from severe injuries sustained in a crash at the North West 200 the previous year, claiming a podium finish at Oulton Park.
Byrne said: “Paul and I agreed a deal ages back and I’m made up I’ll be racing for the PBM Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team once again in 2014. We came so close to defending our title that it makes us even more determined to win it back this season and I know I’ve got the most competitive package to do that. We had a successful test in Spain earlier this week so I’m feeling confident already.”
Easton said: “I’m pleased to be back in BSB on the Kawasaki ZX-10. It was brilliant to win the British Supersport title last year as it got me fit and back to form so now I feel I’m ready to step up to BSB again which is where I want to be. My first run out on the bike in Spain was very positive and I was on the pace so can’t wait for another outing in preparation for the season ahead.”
The Cumbrian based team will again also compete in the FIM MotoGP World Championship. Broc Parkes of Australia joins Michael Laverty returning for a second stint in the premier prototype class.
Team owner Paul Bird concluded: “It’s taken a little while but I’ve got the four riders I wanted in the two championships I wanted to race in. We’ve done a lot of spade work in MotoGP over the past two seasons so the plan is to build on that and work with our partners and Michael and Broc are very capable of delivering. As for BSB, it really hurt us losing our crown to Honda of all people so Shakey’s back to try and reclaim it and Stuart will be a major contender too.”
You can keep up with Shane and the team every month in SuperBike magazine as he continues in his role as Race News Editor.