Brands Hatch: Ryuichi Kiyonari - Q&A

Having forged his career as a Honda rider, Ryuichi Kiyonari embarks on a new direction in 2014 after joining with Buildbase BMW for BSB.
Having forged his career as a Honda rider, Ryuichi Kiyonari embarks on a new direction in 2014 after joining with Buildbase BMW for BSB.
How did you feel last year went?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
For me it was quite a hard time. I got a few podiums but I just couldn't go fast, I felt that my riding wasn't perfect. It wasn't the bike or the team, it was me. The machine was definitely OK because Alex won the championship on it but I just couldn't push. I was always trying to get a perfect set up on the bike but perfect isn't really possible. I think that I needed to adjust to the bike rather than having the bike changed for me. When I was riding it I was thinking too much about the machine set up and not enough about the business of racing, or my riding.
But you seemed to make some steps forward and were one of the title fighters, didn't you get any satisfaction from that?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
No I felt very disappointed. I think for some riders that might be OK but every rider will have their aims and targets and for me it has always been race and championship wins. My problem was that I couldn't get with the top 3 or 4, I was always a little bit behind. Even without a win, If I could have been in amongst the top guys I would have been happy, or maybe not happy but OK. I didn't feel confident with the bike because I was just thinking of the settings too much. I needed to forget about all that because it was stopping me riding in a natural way. Even off the bike I was always talking to my chief mechanic about the set up and it just became an obsession. I don't know why that was but maybe it's because the Honda was almost the same as the 2008 one I had so much success with and I was always chasing the great set ups I'd had in the past.
Were you comfortable with Samsung Honda?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
In general yes but sometimes on race weekends it was a little difficult because when I can't go fast I get a bit angry and if I'm angry I tend not to talk to people. You'll always know when I'm able to push the bike because then I'm happy and talking to everyone. So there was a bit of a communication problem because obviously if you're not talking so much, you can't really work on the bike well. As a rider I think a lot. The team was always fair between the riders though even when Alex was going for the championship. I remember in my championship winning years they were always fair and team mates were never asked to help me. I've never known there be a number 1 and 2 rider at Honda.
So this is a big change, is it good for you?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
Yes I think so. I actually approached this team at the end of last season and I have to say that I'm feeling happier now than I did in that year. I really feel that this team wants me here and that feeling is very important. I feel they have a strong commitment to me.

I would say that the team is friendly and relaxed but as a racer I can't really feel relaxed anywhere. It just that here you feel that the team is totally focussed on the racing but at Honda because of the official support it was a little more political and lacked the pure racing focus I feel here.

Because of my confidence in the mechanics and team here I'm hoping that I can just get on the bike and ride rather than thinking about technical aspects all the time.

It's certainly a very different and fresh situation and I have to say so far so good.
Testing seems to be going well here.

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
Yes, I think I'm in 5th at the moment and just a little higher than James. It's a good start, particularly given that we've only had a couple of tests as opposed to other teams who have had some testing in Spain. The feeling on the bike is good.
Is the bike very different from the one you're used to?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
Oh yes, there's huge difference. I think the first thing I noticed was that the position is so different. The engine character is also something I'm getting used to, I need to understand it more. I think the motor's more powerful but it also has quite a quick pick up. My style means that I'm often too aggressive when opening the throttle so I'm going to have to work on that.
What are your realistic expectations for this year?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
The same as last year, I want to win. That's why I joined this team. I remember last year before I joined the team I was often following the BMW and I always thought it looked like a great bike with good potential. I actively looked for a BMW because it looked like a bike that could do it.

If I'm honest to my self, with my history, the only thing I can expect and aim for is winning.

Last year, even in Japan, many people were saying that I was finished and that I was crashing too much and that I was slow but I can't finish after a year like 2013, I can't finish on a low. The feeling is still there that I can do it. I don't dwell on the past but the champions feeling is still there.
Do you feel that the fans are behind you?

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
Yes, I think so, I think I'm very, very lucky with the support I get. I think the only time they weren't so happy with me was when I beat Leon Haslam to the title. I remember a little booing on the podium after that one and I'd just like to say that I'm sorry!
Apology accepted Kiyo and thanks for the interview.

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
No problem.
by Christian Tiburtius

Tagged as: BMW , Kiyonari , buildbase

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ryuichi Kiyonari - Buildbase BMW
Jake Dixon, RAF Reserves Kawasaki [Credit: MSV BSB Media]
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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April 23, 2014 8:33 AM

I saw a bit of the old Kiyo on Monday, there was some speed and aggression in him that I hadn't seen in a long time. Previously I thought Shakey Brooksey Hopper Tommy Now I'm thinking Shakey Brooksey Kiyo James E

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