Ryuichi Kiyonari is under no illusions that he will need to raise his game significantly to have any chance of challenging his fellow Showdown contenders for the MCE British Superbike crown.

The triple BSB champion sealed his place as a title fighter in the previous round at Donington Park and knows the serious business starts this weekend at Assen.

"I am happy to be in the Showdown but we need to be faster. We have had some small problems at the last rounds and we have been trying to improve, but it is a balance," said the Japanese rider.

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"We need to change that at Assen because it is the Showdown now. The final three rounds will be different, as everyone will be pushing to win the championship.

"I think it will be very hard but I will try my best. I will try and be faster so we can get some more podiums and more wins," he added.

"It's simple: we need to be faster if we are going to win the title."

Alex Lowes has closed the gap on championship leader Shane Byrne to six points and Samsung Honda team manager Havier Beltran has been impressed by the young title contender's run of form, with Lowes winning the last four races.

"We arrive at Assen off the back of a very positive weekend at Donington and it was always our goal to have a very strong end to the main part of the season," he said.

"We'll aim to carry that momentum into the Showdown. Alex's performances over the past two rounds have been very impressive but we know that it will only get harder in the Showdown so it is important to keep the focus on what we are doing.

"For Kiyo this is the time where he needs to improve his performance because these rounds are crucial to the outcome and we know that if we can get everything right for him he is capable of wins before the end of the season," he added.

"We have seen it before so the team has been working hard since Donington to see what we can do to get Kiyo back on the podium at Assen."