Rizla Suzuki's John Reynolds proved he is back to top form by taking second place in final qualifying for tomorrow's fourth round of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.

JR, who has been riding around the pain of a broken collarbone at the previous two rounds, reckons he is able to race for the first time this season rather than just circulate nursing an injury. He is back to his aggressive riding best and determined to fight for the podium tomorrow.

"It's great to get back racing," said Reynolds. "I honestly feel that this is the first event where I will be racing and not just riding with an injury. I am able to be more physical with the bike and push it more than the previous rounds. This is where we should be and tomorrow it's all about racing for the podium and the win.

"Today we worked on geometry and stability on the bike and have found a great package. The bike is good and now it is down to me. The strength is back in my collarbone and I am ready to start my 2003 title challenge now."

Rizla Suzuki rider Yukio Kagayama, who has just returned from a trip to his home in Japan, finished sixth and on the second row. He was bitterly disappointed not to be on the front row but is confident he can run at the front in tomorrow's racing.

"I am not happy with sixth, no way, I could have been much higher," explained Kagayama. "On the last lap I made a big mistake and ran wide at the last corner. But I am still happy, the bike is feeling very good. The chassis is excellent and the engine very strong.

"We have not changed the bike very much today, it is good. We found a tyre for race distance and the clutch is working just the way I want it. Oulton Park is giving me no problems, but it is a very English track with lots of ups and downs and difficult turns. I really enjoy racing here."

Niall Mackenzie, team test and development rider, added: "This is like the start of the season for the team and in particular JR. He's ridden at earlier rounds but was never able to race because of his collarbone. Now he can race again and he's getting angry on track. I've always felt he rides at his best when angry. He also says there isn't a single thing he'd change on his bike and that bodes well for the racing.

"After a turbulent start to the season Yuki is sort of starting afresh as well. He's just returned from Japan and there's a hunger about him to race. At the end of the Dunlop Super 12 qualifying I think he proved he's taken a step forward and is now able to ride the bike hard rather than just ride it fast. He was unlucky not to get on the front row because of a big slide into the last corner, but he'll be there or thereabouts in tomorrow's races. Today has been a big boost for both riders and the team."

The Superbike racing starts at 1.15pm tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, May 5th.

 

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