Brands Hatch Grand Prix: Bennetts Suzuki splits with Kiyonari

Bennetts Suzuki has parted company with three-time champion Ryuichi Kiyonari after his disappointing run of results.
Bennetts Suzuki has parted company with three-time champion Ryuichi Kiyonari after his disappointing run of results which has ended its working relationship with the rider in the MCE British Superbike championship.

Looking to kickstart his career in BSB after a difficult 2015 with Buildbase BMW, Kiyonari switched to the Halsall Racing-run Suzuki squad over the winter but has notched up just four points finishes all season.

The Japanese rider had shown brief spurts of form but suffered an ill-timed broken collarbone at Brands Hatch Indy while battling at the sharp end.

Despite making a comeback and demonstrating his pace with Suzuki at the Suzuka 8 Hours, Kiyonari endured a terrible race weekend back at Brands Hatch lapping considerably off the pace at the back of the grid.

As a result, Kiyonari is already effectively out of the running for the top six Showdown spots and Bennetts Suzuki have ended its contract with the rider early.

"It's disappointing that things haven't worked out with Kiyo this season, but sometimes things just don't quite click or come together as you'd both hoped,” Martin Halsall, Bennetts Suzuki team owner, said. “With nearly half the season remaining, we both agreed it was better for everyone involved to terminate our agreement early, and focus our efforts on a strong end to the season.

"We'd like to thank Kiyo for his commitment. We will now take our time in finding a replacement rider, with our main focus on regrouping after a disappointing weekend at Brands Hatch where we lost out on a podium finish on the last lap. Our aim is still to get Tommy [Bridewell] into the Showdown if we can."

It has not been confirmed whether Bennetts Suzuki will search for a replacement rider for round eight at Cadwell Park or for the remainder of the BSB campaign.

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Ryuichi Kiyonari, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit:]
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August 08, 2016 7:35 PM

Bad news for Kiyo but not exactly a surprise. From the outside looking in it seems like his head is all over the place. A shame for such a likeable and friendly guy but I think this has to be the end of the road now? at least in the uk.


August 08, 2016 8:37 PM

His outing at the Suzuka 8hr showed just how fast he can be when his head is right. Was the fact he was back in Japan with a Japanese team a factor in his display? If it was, for his own sake he might be better off going home...

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