Kiyonari suffers through difficult Snett

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Three-time BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has had yet another horror weekend at Snetterton, leaving the fourth round of the championship failing to have scored a single point and now trailing title leader Shane Byrne by a massive 112 points.

Even more importantly, with Kiyonari yet to visit the podium this season, Byrne now has a race in hand in podium credits come the Showdown over his Japanese rival. 

So where did it all go wrong for Kiyonari? He traces at he start of his bad luck back to Q2, where the wrong decision on leaving the pits saw him stuck behind a heavy shower of rain and unable to improve on nineteenth on the grid.

“I came back to the UK, had a good first day – a good start – and then I had a shit qualifying, a crash in warm-up, and problems in race one. Everything has came from qualifying – all the bad luck of the weekend! Sure, the crash in race two was my mistake, but I made the wrong decision in Q2, and it’s been a difficult weekend.”

Finishing race one all the way back in nineteenth before crashing out of the second race of the weekend was far from what he needed at this point in the series – and worryingly, he admits that he’s not sure when they’ll find a solution to his problems.

“Last year Knockhill was the turning point, but this year I’m not sure it will happen again. I have confidence in the team, in the bike, already this year. I need to start finishing some races, but I don’t know what I need to do. I know that I can still ride a bike fast, and it’s difficult to figure out what’s wrong. I just can’t believe what’s happened so far!”

With Kiyonari a notorious confidence rider – and someone who has struggled to click with team and machine in the past – there is one ray of sunshine among the black clouds of his season so far – the triple champion is insistent that despite whatever problems he might be struggling with, his confidence remains high.

We had some problems at Donington, some problems at Brands, some problems at Snetterton, but I always trust the bike – that’s why I’m not scared of riding hard. I know I can trust it. Even with the damping problem in race one, I still trust the bike. I still have confidence, I still have belief. Hopefully we can improve for Knockhill now - as I have nice memories of there from last year!”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer