Ryuichi Kiyonari gave his flagging season a significant boost in the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship after scoring a pair of podiums at Monza.
The Japanese rider came to Italy having slipped to 15th in the rider standings, but hinted at his potential with a run to third position on the grid in Superpole.
Even so, Kiyonari didn't put it to good use in the first race, a terrible start leaving him a lowly 17th at the end of the opening lap. Nonetheless, the former BSB champion got his head down and gradually worked his way back into contention.
Setting a series of quick lap times, Kiyonari was originally heading for a fine fifth place finish, but would be prompted to the podium when Ben Spies slowed on the final lap and Max Biaggi received a post-race penalty.
Getting a better start in race two, Kiyonari battled hard for second position with Michel Fabrizio, but was forced to settle for third. Nonetheless, the results almost double Kiyonari's points tally for the season, much to his delight.
“I am so happy to get these results for myself and for the team. We have worked very hard to find a good setting with the CBR1000RR this season but we have not always had good luck. My start was very bad in race one but I was able to fight back lap-by-lap during the race, although I was very surprised and happy when they told me I was third.
“In the second race I had a better start and I must say I am a little disappointed. I had the speed to catch Fabrizio but not quite enough to get past him. But this is my best result for a long time and I hope it indicates the start of a better part of the season for me and the team.”
Team manager Ronald ten Kate was also delighted to see his team on the podium for the first time this season, even if he believes Kiyonari should have been fighting for victory in the opening race.
“I am more than satisfied with Kiyo-san's two podium finishes today, although I must honestly say that, especially in race one, there might have been the chance of a win if not for his bad start. Dropping from third on the grid to seventeenth on the first lap is quite exceptional, but what is more exceptional is fighting back again to third place!
“It's good to get confirmation of our set-up and electronics changes and hopefully we can be even more competitive in Kyalami next weekend.”