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.