Ryuichi Kiyonari went some way to lifting himself out of the doldrums with a star turn in qualifying for the latest round of the World Superbike Championship at Monza.

The Japanese rider has endured a difficult start to the season on the HRC-liveried Ten Kate Honda and currently languishes down in 15th position in the overall standings.

However, having shown race winning potential at the high-speed Italian circuit last season, Kiyonari hinted at another challenge this year by snatching third on the grid, behind only Ben Spies and Michel Fabrizio.

His first front row start since Donington Park 2008, a race he went on to win, Kiyonari was delighted to banish some of his Superpole demons.

"I am so happy to be on the front row here after some real problems in qualifying so far this season. Last year I nearly had my first Superbike win in race two, but maybe it's possible this year because my bike is very fast.

"We have worked very hard to improve my feeling with the bike and to find a good setting and I am pleased that we got there today. We still have some things to try to improve the bike a little bit but the team has worked very hard for me, so thanks to them.

"I know it is important to have good starts here and I am in the best position for this. It is my first time on the front row this year and I want to make the most of it with two podium finishes tomorrow.

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