Kiyo content despite eighth on the grid

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Buildbase BMW rider Ryuichi Kiyonari says he’s content after MCE British Superbike qualifying at Brands Hatch today, despite being set to start tomorrow’s opening race from the third row of the grid in eighth.

Struggling all season to find a comfortable base set-up on the S1000RR, the triple champion and his squad took the radical step of using the opening sessions of the weekend as a test instead of chasing lap times – and he believes that the decision has paid off.

“You can see that free practice was not good for us, but now I’m happy. At Knockhill, we improved a little bit with the engine set-up, but at the start of practice here it wasn’t the same feeling at all – it was completely different.

“We decided ‘ok, we need to improve,’ and that it was important to test some things and improve the bike fast It’s difficult to do that and get a fast lap time at the same time, but finally now we’re starting to get better.

“It’s still a big gap compared to the top three – they’re nearly a second faster than me – but qualifying is qualifying, and the race is always different. I have confidence with the bike now, and that matters to me.”

And with a set-up focused now not on single lap qualifying pace but on the speed he needs for a whole race distance, he’s confident that the third row start won’t be too much of a hindrance to him come the race.

“Over race distance, too, not just two or three laps, the bike feels strong. I just used one tyre for the session, and it meant that it was difficult at the end of the session when everyone else changed, but I know that the machine has good potential for the race because of the work we’ve done.

“This track is one of my favourite tracks, so that makes me more happy, and tomorrow will be a very hard race with Shakey and Josh so strong. But if I can get a good start with them, I have a lot of confidence.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer