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Ryuichi Kiyonari has drawn first blood in the free practice for the tenth round of the 2014 MCE British Superbike Championship as the Title Showdown kicked off in Assen.

With the title battle whittled down to a six-way challenge between Kiyonari, Shane Byrne, Josh Brookes, Chris Walker, Tommy Bridewell and Dan Linfoot, each challenger would begin their Dutch 'flyaway' weekend inside the top 12.

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Fresh from his double at Donington Park, Kiyonari was back on form aboard the Buildbase BMW to fire to the front with ten minutes of the session remaining, ahead of the impressive Linfoot on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, with Byrne and Brookes following up in third and fourth.

Stuart Easton was fifth best, with Bridewell making it five of the six Title Fighters inside the top six. Walker, meanwhile, could only manage 12th fastest. Rounding out the top ten, James Ellison was seventh fastest, ahead of John Hopkins, Jon Kirkham and Peter Hickman.

Elsewhere, of the several newcomers to the series this weekend, former WSBK rider Christian Iddon was an encouraging 13th on the Bimota BB3, while European Superstock 1000 race winner Kevin Valk was 15th on the TAG Kawasaki. PR Kawasaki'd Jed Metcher, Joe Burns and Lee Jackson were 23rd, 26th and 27th respectively.


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Shakey seems to have gone off the boil at bit at recent events whilst Kiyo has momentum.
If the BMW can find some reliability this could end up as a very close run thing.