Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) proved that he is back and means business in the MCE British Superbike Championship at Knockhill, narrowly missing out on a double win when Shane Byrne took advantage of a mistake from the triple title-winner to score victory in the second race by 0.176s.
Triple MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari returned to winning ways at Knockhill for the first time since 2011 as the Japanese rider made history by securing BMW’s first win in the series.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes (pictured above), moved to second in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings at Knockhill, but the Australian was unsatisfied that he wasn’t able to battle for the wins with his title rivals at the Scottish circuit.
Brookes scored a pair of fourth places to add to his points tally, but admits he was disappointed that he couldn’t make up more ground on fierce title rival Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in the standings. The Australian was unable to match the pace he had set earlier in the weekend and admitted he was left frustrated, but determined to fight back stronger at Brands Hatch in just over two weeks’ time.
Josh Brookes: “I am a bit confused with today really. I used the same bike and the same tyres all weekend, but yesterday we were able to set a better pace than we have today. It wasn’t a particularly different day from the rest of the weekend here in terms of conditions and yet I don’t know where the lap time went.
“I tried everything to go faster and ride harder, but what was really frustrating for me was not that I came fourth, but that Shakey wasn’t his dominant self and I wasn’t able to capitalise. It is when he is having a bad day that I have got to have a good day. When he is having a poor weekend by his regular standards it was an opportunity for me to pounce and I fumbled. I am frustrated and I don’t have any answers so I have just got to put this round behind me and work on going further ahead at Brands Hatch.
Kiyonari had crashed out of the warm up, but he was back to his best for the race and hit the front of the field on the opening lap after rocketing off the pole position. The chasing pack was headed by Josh Brookes, Stuart Easton, James Ellison and Byrne as the riders jostled for the early positions.
Ellison was pushing to move ahead of Easton and he went for a move on the inside at the Hairpin just a lap later, but the pair made contact and the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki slid off out of contention ending his run of podium finishes.
At the front Kiyonari was showing the form that has taken him to three MCE BSB titles and was edging out a gap as his rivals shifted positions in their quest for the all-important podium credits. Byrne was looking to make a move and he dived down the inside of his Scottish team-mate at the Hairpin and then had his sights set on Brookes ahead of him in second.
Brookes was holding off Byrne but the championship leader wasn’t giving up without a fight, pushing ahead at the Hairpin on the ninth lap to move second, whilst Easton also took advantage to pass the Milwaukee Yamaha on the drag up over the hill into turn one.
The lone Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki of Chris Walker then saw his opportunity and he pushed Brookes back to sixth a lap later on the run into the Hairpin. The Australian though wasn’t settling for that and made the same pass on the ‘Stalker’ in the final stages.
Byrne couldn’t close Kiyonari in the final stages as the team celebrated their first win of the season and a historic first for BMW, with their best results to date a brace of fourth places. Easton held on to third despite some last lap pressure from Brookes as he scored his first top three finish of the season.
Walker held off Tommy Bridewell over the closing laps to score fifth with Dan Linfoot in seventh place. Team WD-40 had their best result of the season in eighth place ahead of John Hopkins and James Westmoreland, who carved his was through to tenth after a pitlane start.
Race one result:
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW)
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 4.861s
3. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.908s
4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +6.143s
5. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +7.819s
6. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +7.885s
7. Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +16.302s
8. Barry Burrell (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) +17.270s
9. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +17.356s
10. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +23.135s
Byrne had made amends for a poor start in the first race to fire off the line into the lead at the start with Kiyonari giving chase ahead of Josh Brookes and Stuart Easton. The leading Milwaukee Yamaha rider then lost ground and Easton and then the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki of Chris Walker moved ahead, pushing Brookes back to fifth.
As the laps counted down Kiyonari was edging closer and it came to the final lap sitting on the rear Pirelli of his rival Byrne. Kiyonari looked for a way ahead, but despite his best efforts he finished second as the pair crossed the line inseparable.
Walker had been holding off the challenges from Brookes and despite a broken finger he lived up to his ‘Old but Gold’ slogan by claiming third, with Easton on the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki completing the top five.
Dan Linfoot had another strong finish in sixth place on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki ahead of Tommy Bridewell and James Ellison who had fought his way through the field. Richard Cooper and Michael Rutter completed the top ten.
Race two result:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.176s
3. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +6.349s
4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +7.975s
5. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +10.595s
6. Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +14.755s
7. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +16.838s
8. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +17.762s
9. Richard Cooper (Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki) +20.479s
10. Michael Rutter (Bathams BMW) +20.943s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Knockhill:
Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 190
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 111
James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 108
Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 88
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 82
Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 76