Kiyonari gets chance to defend title

Ryuichi Kiyonari's hopes of defending his British Superbike Championship title live on as he squeezes into the 2011 title shootout.
Ryuichi Kiyonari admits he is 'relieved' to have made the 2011 MCE British Superbike title showdown after another fairly frustrating weekend at Cadwell Park.

Kiyonari, champion in 2010, came into the crucial Cadwell Park weekend with a mere five point advantage over Michael Rutter in the fight for the sixth and final shootout spot, while the likes of Gary Mason and Jon Kirkham were also well in contention.

However, while Kiyonari did his cause few favours with a disappointing run to 15th in qualifying, he received a massive boost when Rutter was involved in a collision during the first race, one that would effectively sideline him for the remaining two races.

The absence of his nearest challenger meant that, despite a fairly quiet run to fifth, ninth and seventh, Kiyonari would comfortably make it into the top six shootout for the second season in succession.

“I am of course relieved to be in the Showdown because before the weekend anything could have happened,” he said. “In the second race we had made some small changes to the machine balance and it felt better and I was able to push harder. I was happy to be in the Showdown but I do not want to be racing for seventh, I want to be riding for wins, but with the qualifying positions it wasn't going to be easy.

“It was a hard weekend but I am happy with the improvements we have made and we are feeling better after the three races here than we did before the weekend. I know the Showdown is going to be harder again so we will work hard to fight at Donington Park.”

Kiyonari, who ended the pre-shootout phase of the championship 138 points behind HM Plant Honda team-mate Shane Byrne, begins the three-round shootout with 508 points, just 21 points behind leader Tommy Hill.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ryuichi Kiyonari - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Ryuichi Kiyonari HM Plant Honda: [picture credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Ryuichi Kiyonari HM Plant Honda: [picture credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Josh Brookes,Ryuichi Kiyonari, John Hopkins, Superbike race 2, BSB Snetterton, July 2011
Ryuichi Kiyonari - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
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]

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pp916 - Unregistered

August 31, 2011 10:56 AM

For Shakey to have his huge points advantage over Kiyo all but wiped out by this ludicrous system is just plain wrong. Not only that but Tommy Hill is now in front of him where under the normal system he would still be 20 points behind. If Kiyo were to get his act together and steal the championship from those that have done all the graft up to now it would be a travesty.....the REAL champion will be the one who scores the most points without all this manipulation.

Pete - Unregistered

August 31, 2011 11:15 AM

If Kiyo manages to win the title this year then it will be a very hollow victory IMO. In the past he has been awesome but this year he has looked like a shadow of his former self and no way deserves to be champion. The shootout system is useless and does little more than treat racing fans like X Factor viewers. The fact this ridiculous system is not used in any other class of professional racing says it all really. Hopefully the 'real' winner will still take the title then they can bin off this joke of a points system for 2012.

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