Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

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’

On the Ka­gayama Team Suzuki GSX-R1000, Kiyo was lap­ping as quickly as race lead­ers

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