British Superbike Championship title contender Ryuichi Kiyonari has added a third Suzuka 8 Hours victory to his repertoire as he and his partner led a Honda 1-2-3 in the endurance classic.

The former BSB champion and World Superbike race winner teamed up with Takumi Takahashi to fend off a number of notable names and claim another victory.

"I am very happy to have won the race with the Honda MuSashi Harc Pro team; the last time I raced here I won so I am happy to have done it again," Kiyonari, who will next be seen as a wild-card at the Silverstone World Superbike round, said.

"The team worked very hard and it was a long race, but it was another good challenge for me. I am now ready to come back to the UK for the World Superbike Championship round at Silverstone.

Having been beaten by Suzuki in 2009, Honda returned to the fore around their home circuit, with former WSBK rider Makoto Tamada finishing second with Shinichi Itoh, while Jonathan Rea was third on his debut after pairing up with Honda MotoGP test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi.

Rea's performance was particularly impressive as two stop-go penalties and a collision with another rider saw him down in 42nd position at one stage. Nonetheless, a marvellous fight back, which also included a fastest lap, saw him get on the podium.

"First of all, I want to thank all my team and the Japanese fans. It was a tough day. We had some unexpected troubles and mistakes, so to be honest I am not so happy. Yet working well together with Akiyoshi and repeatedly telling myself 'never give up, keep going', we were able to get into third place. If I have a chance, I want to participate in the Suzuka 8 Hours again!"

BSB rider Yukio Kagayama finished sixth for Yoshimura Suzuki.


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