British Superbikes: Kiyonari and O’Halloran braced for Silverstone opener

Ryuichi Kiyonari testing at Donington EMN-160404-154710002
Ryuichi Kiyonari testing at Donington EMN-160404-154710002

Market Rasen-based Superbike racers Ryuichi Kiyonari and Jason O’Halloran are raring to go as they prepare to contest the opening round of the British Superbike championship.

Japanese rider Kiyo has switched teams for 2016 and will race the Bennetts Halsall Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Silverstone on Sunday.

Market Rasen-based Superbike racer Jason OHalloran EMN-160404-154418002

Market Rasen-based Superbike racer Jason OHalloran EMN-160404-154418002

He has completed his pre-season preparations ahead of his assault on the 2016 Championship, following two official tests at Silverstone and Donington Park last week.

Despite having one eye on the opening round at Silverstone, Kiyo remained focussed on using both days for further testing, working with team-mate Tommy Bridewell to get the best from the GSX-R1000.

At the Donington Park test Kiyonari completed 74 laps and finished the day in seventh place on the timesheets, just seven tenths of a second off the fastest time.

“I feel really happy with the team and my new bike,” he said. “Today’s test has been another good one for us.

Market Rasen-based Superbike racer Ryuichi Kiyonari EMN-160404-154407002

Market Rasen-based Superbike racer Ryuichi Kiyonari EMN-160404-154407002

“I’m really enjoying riding the bike and I can feel the potential. It is easy to ride fast.

“We are competitive, but today was about testing and not pushing too hard, and we know what direction we need to keep working in to make more improvements. I like testing, but I’m now looking forward to racing.”

O’Halloran has returned to Louth-based Honda Racing after being sidelined for much of last year with a badly broken leg, sustained in a high speed crash at Thruxton.

He is now fully fit and looking to repeat the form of the early part of 2015 when he climbed the podium at Snetterton after twice finishing third.

The Australian rider completed the Donington test in fifth place last week and was happy with the way his Honda was working.

He said: “It’s nice to be back on track. I spent half of last season recuperating from my injury and then spent the winter getting myself fit.

“We have done a fair bit of testing over the last few months and I feel confident I can be fighting for the win every weekend now.”

* The weekend begins with two free practice sessions on Friday followed by a third free practice on Saturday morning.

The three-part qualifying session takes place on Saturday at 4.02pm and this will set the grid for the first race on Sunday.

Race one, over 14 laps, is set for 1.30pm followed by race two over the same distance at 4.30pm. Both races will be televised live on Eurosport 2.