After watching his riders struggle in the three rounds since Carlos Checa's debut double race victory at Miller Motorsports Park, Ronald ten Kate admitted he had begun to doubt the capability of the team's Fireblade... until Ryuichi Kiyonari stormed to his own debut double WSBK victory at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

"Yeah, we almost started to believe that we had to rebuild the bike," ten Kate told Radio. "Apparently the bike is not so bad after all! Ryuichi's double win has proven that, and also Carlos on his first time around here at Brands Hatch - quite a 'peculiar' track - was on the pace."

Checa finished sixth and eighth, but Sunday was all about reigning double BSB champion and WSBK rookie Kiyonari, who fought off Troy Bayliss and Max Biaggi in a thrilling race one battle, then broke the challenge of another racing superstar - Noriyuki Haga - for a more comfortable race two victory.

"It's perfect to see Kiyonari do so well. We all know what kind of a racer he is, but he also has to learn a lot of the tracks this year, which has been a bit difficult for him. Now we have come to a track he really knows well and we have seen the result," said ten Kate.

"On the positive side you can say he's really fast at tracks he knows, the downside is that he usually takes quite a lot of time to learn new tracks. He needs to really feel confident about where the track is going and what he has to do before he goes fast," explained the Dutchman.

"It's usually by Sunday that he understands all of that, but here on Friday morning - on the third lap he did - he was already into the 1min 26secs, which proved to be race pace.

"It's such a big help if you can immediately do race times, then you can start to set the bike up and make selection for the tyres. It's just so much easier.

"Now we are looking forward to the next round at Donington Park and next season, with Ryuichi, when he will know all the tracks.

"Ryuichi still holds the track record for BSB at Donington and also Carlos knows that one [from MotoGP] so hopefully we can have a few guys on the podium there," he declared.

Meanwhile, as well as Kiyonari's double victory, Ten Kate's Jonathan Rea won the World Supersport event and Maxime Berger the Superstock 1000 race.

However, ten Kate's immediate concern was for WSS rival Craig Jones, airlifted to hospital with head injuries after falling during a thrilling duel with Rea and team-mate Andrew Pitt.

"I think we deserve a beer with all the good work we have done today, but now I want to find out how Craig is doing because this is on my mind more than any celebration..."

Sadly, Jones - who rode for Ten Kate Honda in place of an injured Katsuaki Fujiwara at the 2005 Czech Republic WSS round, finishing in sixth position - died from his injuries early on Monday morning.


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