to read the full interview with Ryuichi Kiyonari
Ryuichi Kiyonari has shrugged off suggestions he is 'back to his best' in the 2014 MCE British Superbike Championship, insisting he personally feels he is riding as well as he has in previous seasons.
A three-time BSB champion and one of the most successful riders to have competed in the series, Kiyonari made the surprise switch to Buildbase BMW for 2014 having spent almost the entirety of his career to date as a Honda rider.
Coming after a series of disappointing BSB campaigns that hadn't lived up to the heights of his 2006, 2007 and 2010 BSB titles – causing him to lose favour with Honda -, Kiyonari's return to success in 2014 aboard an entirely different bike has proven to be one of the year's big stories.
Securing BMW's first ever BSB win at Knockhill, another victory at Brands Hatch and three further podiums have seen Kiyonari ascend to third in the overall standings, in turn rekindling the 'War for Four' pitch that sees him and Shane Byrne going head-to-head to win a record-breaking fourth BSB title in 2014.
However, while many have branded Kiyonari's performance in 2014 as a sign that the 'old Kiyo' is back and or that he is riding as well as he did during his title-winning years, the man himself insists nothing within himself has in fact changed.
“It's a different team with a different bike but I'm always the same, I honestly don't feel any different,” he told Crash.net
. “I'm riding the same as last season, maybe the difference in the BMW has changed my style a bit but I like to think that I approach every year in the same way. The reason I may look a little different from last year is just that the BMW needs to be ridden in a slightly different way.”
Indeed, Kiyonari credits the change in structure around him as a whole, rather than one specific reason, as the underlying reason for his return to success, adding that much the better he performs, the stronger he becomes.
“I can't really say that one particular thing has changed,“ he continued. “It all feeds off each other, if I can go faster, I feel better, I find it easier to find a good setting and I go faster still. The main thing is that the team and bike are good and I fit in. I still find it difficult to find a good setting but we seem to be finding one.
“The BMW has very different power characteristics and delivery to the Honda and it's maybe that change that has allowed us to come at it afresh. Also some people say that a happy rider is a fast rider but in my case it's more that a fast rider is a happy rider, I need the speed first and then it's a cycle.
“Everybody is saying that I'm very different this year but I can honestly say that I'm not approaching things differently or riding differently it's just that all the factors are working together and that means that everything is going upwards.”
To read the full interview with Kiyonari for his opinion on the Title Showdown format and the happiness he has found competing with Buildbase BMW in 2014, CLICK HERE