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Monday Conversation: Michael Byrne

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After getting seven podiums in the last couple of motocross seasons and even tying for an overall win, Michael Byrne finds himself on the outside looking in as Anaheim 1 quickly approaches. It’s a bizarre time in American motocross when a solid rider that works hard and causes no problems off the track cannot get a ride, but this is where the friendly Aussie finds himself. I caught up to him after he returned from the Australasian Super X series to find out what’s up.

  • His contract up with Suzuki, Byrne raced a Honda in the Australasian SX series.
Racer X: Byrner, what’s going on with you for 2010?
Michael Byrne: I’m jobless, mate.

How can a guy who was one of the top riders last year in motocross not have something this late in the season?
I don’t know, you tell me. That’s the big question.

Well, did you come close to signing with some teams? Also, talk about how the Aussie SX series went for you.
Yeah, I spoke to some teams in September and nothing came of it. I went to Australia and thought I’d do some races there, stay in shape and get some time in on a SX track. I knew it was going to be hard for me down there as I was going down there a few days before the first race to ride a bike I didn’t know, a team that I didn’t know and pretty much everything was different as to what I was used to. I had never ridden a Honda 450 before, the team had never done any real supercross testing and it was an uphill battle.

I had a lot of crashes on the bike, my tires were new and I was trying to find out how far I could push it and it was tough but it was good to get behind the gate and it was good to know that when I got back to the States, I would be ready to go y’know? So I’m ready to go but I don’t have a bike.

Do you think that your struggles in the series hurt you when it came to getting a ride over here?
Maybe, I’d like to think it wouldn’t because hopefully people understood I took that ride with no real time testing and probably rode a stock Honda. No kit suspension or anything like that. I rode with Michelin tires and had never raced with them before, that was a big step for me coming from works Bridgestones or even the Dunlops I raced with at the U.S. Open.

  • With no time to test, Michael Byrne had a tough time getting up to race speed on the new bike.
  • If he doesn't get a ride, Byrne says he'll be going it alone this year.
So do you have some things you’re working on still or is it all dead?
There are still some things out there I guess. I was hoping to get on a Yamaha team but I haven’t heard anything back on that. We’re going back and forth on that and I haven’t heard what they need from me to make it happen. I’d like to make that happen obviously. I’d like to go to Anaheim as I’m ready to go, I’m in shape, I have some races under me and I guess we’ll see what happens this week. Otherwise I’ll be rocking Anaheim in a van.

Did you ever think that it would come to this for you? One of the top guys in our sport trying to find a home this late in the season?
It’s pretty weird for sure with all the podiums and top fives I’ve gotten in the motocross series the last couple of years that there is nothing out there for me. I work hard and do the right things on and off the track and this is where I am. I had some good seasons the last couple of years and this is hard to take for sure.

If I could pay the bills and get to the races I would do it. I’m thankful for the guys that have stuck behind me like Answer and Rockstar. They’re willing to put in money to help me out and that’s good to see. We’ll see what happens.
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