Team Rizla Suzuki riders John Reynolds and Yukio Kagayama were both in the thick of the action during yesterday [Monday]'s fourth round of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.

JR scored a season's best so-far second place finish and Kagayama just missed the podium with a fourth place.

JR, starting from second on the grid, was fighting for the lead in both races, but at the midway point in the first race he started to slip back to an eventual eighth.

In race two he stayed in second place from the second lap to the chequered flag, briefly taking the lead on lap seven. A jubilant Reynolds was delighted to take his place on the podium and is now racing without serious pain from his left collarbone, which he broke at the opening round of the season five weeks ago.

"I needed that result, second place is much more like it for us," said Reynolds, "Race one wasn't much fun because the bike wasn't set up for the way I was riding with my injury. We changed it dramatically for race two, made it softer and easier to ride and that helped me a lot.

"I was able to race today despite only being at 95 per cent fitness because of my healing left collarbone. At Knockhill I will have another two weeks of recuperation behind me and I reckon I'll be 100 per cent."

Kagayama fought his way to fifth in the first race after qualifying sixth. In a dramatic second race, he fell as low as 11th on lap three after making a mistake before scything through the field to fourth just seven laps later. He held off a determined charge by Yamaha's reigning British Superbike Champion Steve Hislop in the closing stages.

"The first race was okay but I was struggling to control my bike, so we made some changes for race two," explained Kagayama, "We changed the rear tyre and made the front more compliant to deal with the bumps and it was much better.

"I am disappointed to make a mistake early on and then could only fight back as high as fourth. But it is a good result and I am happy. At one point in the race I made a big mistake and my foot came off the peg. Steve Plater hit the back of my bike and crashed, it was a very big surprise to me and I am glad he is alright.

"Now I have raced here once and when we come back for Oulton Park in August we will be more competitive. I will hopefully be racing with John-san for the victory."

Paul Denning, Team Manager, continued: "What a great second race. After all the events and injuries of recent weeks these results for both riders feel like victories.

"JR is totally committed and the effort he put in was fantastic. Hopefully his second place podium is the start of him challenging for wins on a regular basis and when we reach Knockhill in Scotland he will be back to full fitness which should help. Congratulations to John for making the decision between races to totally change the set-up on his bike. That was a big call to make but proved correct. Well done to his team for making the changes to his machine in the hour's gap between the races, they deserve a lot of credit.

"Yuki went from 11th to fourth in the second race and was running similar lap times to the leaders. If he hadn't made a mistake, then he might have challenged for the podium as well. For his first time at the track that is an amazing achievement.

"Congratulations to the whole team for a great effort. It is good to get so close to winning and hopefully this is the turning point for our season and our results will continue to improve."

Ducati's Shane Byrne won both races yesterday. Round five is at Knockhill in Scotland in two weeks time on May 18th.

 

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