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'Tricky one' for Byrne, Kiyonari pressure
23 August 2011
British Superbike title leader Shane Byrne goes into this weekend's Cadwell Park round with only podium credits to gain, while HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari is under pressure to make the Showdown cut.
The Cadwell Park triple header is the final round before the Showdown, in which the top six riders have their points equalised, with podium 'credits' added in the form of three points for a race win, two for a second and one for a third. Those six then decide the title over the last three events
Byrne - like John Hopkins (24 points from Byrne) and Tommy Hill (45 points behind) - is already guaranteed a place in the Shootout, so has little to gain this weekend. The Englishman admits it's a strange situation, but insists he will be going all-out for race wins.
"It's a tricky one - I'm not a fan of the championship format, but I am already qualified to go through," said former double champion Byrne. "It is the home round of my HM Plant Honda team so I will be doing the best job I can.
"That means I will be pushing for three wins, though as with every weekend there will be strong contenders to overcome. I will fight all of the way for the race wins.
"We tested there last week and that gave us the chance to change some settings and some rear shocks. We got through a lot of things and that has given us a direction to start with when we arrive on Saturday morning."
While Byrne is riding without pressure, the opposite is true of reigning triple champion Kiyonari, who currently holds the final Shootout place by just five points from Michael Rutter (Ducati).
Others in the hunt for a place among the top six are Gary Mason, Jon Kirkham, Peter Hickman, riding the Tyco Honda, and former four times runner-up Chris Walker.
"This is the home round for me and the team's home round and I know I need to push here for the championship," said the Japanese. "I have the number one plate and I should be at the front fighting with the other riders. For sure we will be doing everything this weekend to get back on the podium again for myself and the team. I want to be winning and I have to try and do that here. The most important thing for me is to be inside the top six for the Showdown."
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