Ryuichi Kiyonari has put himself in a good position to fight for a third British Superbike Championship title after scoring a double victory at Mallory Park.
The Japanese rider – champion in 2006 and 2007 – has endured ups and downs on his return to the series, his two podiums in the opening four rounds being negated by mechanical problems on the HM Plant Honda.
Leaving him outside a crucial top six position, Kiyonari turned things around with pole position and two comfortable victories around the tight Leicstershire circuit.
Lifting him up to fourth on paper, Kiyonari is actually an effective third in the standings – ahead of Michael Laverty - when the 'bonus points' for wins and podiums are taken into account. It means – if the points were equalised now – Kiyonari would start the showdown just four points adrift of leader Tommy Hill.
“I am so happy to have won both races here today and it has put me up to fourth in the standings so that is a good result for me and everyone at HM Plant Honda,” he said. “It has been the best weekend of the year for me with the pole position for both races and then two wins. In the first race, I had some special braking at the chicane and made a difficult pass on Michael Laverty – I said sorry to him as I pushed him wide!
“Then in the second race my start was not so good and I was overtaken, but I got my head down and put in consistent laps and finished ahead of Josh again which was hard to do as he wanted the race wins.
“Today's results have been a team effort for sure. I had a difficult start to the season but we have turned it around and I think our hard work has paid off. I knew that Josh was going to be pushing me hard, but I stayed consistent and tried not to make many mistakes, but we are in a very good position now before Knockhill next weekend.”
The current BSB Points for Podiums table sees Hill lead on 15, Brookes second with 12, Kiyonari third with 11 and Michael Laverty fourth on eight.
These points will be added to the equalised tally of those that qualify for the end of season 'Showdown'.