Ryuichi Kiyonari could be forced to give up his British Superbike Championship crown next time out at Cadwell Park after a disappointing weekend at Brands Hatch saw him fall into the clutches of Michael Rutter in the fight for a top six spot.
Rutter's three top five finishes, including a podium in race one, have helped him move just five points adrift of Kiyonari, who could only manage a 12th and a sixth place finish by comparison.
Struggling with set-up on the HM Plant Honda, though Kiyonari – who has won two races this season - still retains a top six placing, should he bumped down to seventh at Cadwell Park, his hopes of a fourth title are over.
“This weekend has been disappointing for me as we have worked hard to find the right setting and we made changes between races and after warm up but I wasn't feeling comfortable, although in the third race it felt better and I could push the front and finish sixth.
“We had turned off all the electronics in the third race and I just tried to ride the bike, because where the conditions changed from Saturday to Sunday we had less time to make improvements. It has been a frustrating weekend but I think we can come back at Cadwell Park faster to make sure we stay in the top six for the Showdown.”