KIYONARI: I CAN TAKE THIS TO BSB
Ryuichi Kiyonari has come away from this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours disappointed with his Team Kagayama’s finishing position of sixth – but confident that there’s lessons to be learned from the one-off race that he can apply to his British Superbike season.
Leading the race for most of the first hour after a lightning fast start, the most successful rider in Suzuka history was able to run with the leading group for his time on the bike.
But a combination of a disastrous pit stop and a fall for team-mate Naomichi Uramoto left the team languishing outside the top 20 – a result that Kiyonari’s rapid pace (running at the same speed as the race winners for much of the second half) was able to recover to a strong sixth.
“I was fast, and I really enjoyed the battle at the start of the race with the Yamaha and the Honda. But the second half of the race we made a few mistakes, and now I’m so disappointed about it. But Suzuka is very different from a normal race – it’s not a sprint and anything can happen. I understand how mistakes can happen.”
However, there was one silver lining to the race for Kiyo, as he admitted to MCN afterwards that he believes that the race will bring a positive boost to his British Superbike season on the Bennetts’ Halsall Suzuki when he returns to the series next weekend.
“It’s a different bike and a different tyre – although I know Dunlop, I know Pirelli, I know Michelin and I know Bridgestone! But there’s something missing, something that we need to find to make the BSB bike better.
“For sure there’s something we can
take from here back with us to BSB though. Kagayama has given me some data, and he’s offered to help me out with set-up too. He’s a good guy – a proper man!”
And while the help from former BSB front-runner Kagayama will no doubt be positive, there’s another factor that can’t be discounted – the added experience and confidence boost that running at the top again has given the three-time BSB champ.
“I had a lot of testing here, and a lot of riding. It’s good practice. It helps me improve my riding skills, because I haven’t done enough this year. I need to practice, practice, practice – and hopefully it helps me in Brands Hatch! Plus, I enjoy riding my bike, so not having a break is no problem either!”
‘I need to practice, practice, practice, so hopefully it helps me at Brands’