British Superbikes: Kiyonari makes his point on race return

Ryuichi Kiyonari returned to the British Superbike championship at Oulton Park after parting company with his previous team EMN-161209-111254002
Ryuichi Kiyonari returned to the British Superbike championship at Oulton Park after parting company with his previous team EMN-161209-111254002

Ryuichi Kiyonari made a welcome return to the British Superbike championship at Oulton Park last weekend.

Riding a BMW for Smiths Racing, the Market Rasen-based rider was pleased to score some valuable championship points.

Kiyo took his time to settle to the new bike and find a set-up to suit his riding style. He qualified in 20th for race one on Saturday afternoon, but didn’t get the best of starts and had to fight his way back through the back markers from 26th.

But he got his head down and, determined to race well for his new team, began to reel in the riders ahead one-by-one until he reached 16th place on lap 14 of 18.

He crossed the finish line in 16th, just half-a-second away from a points finish.

“The race was fast, I am very happy to come back to BSB and to join team Smiths BMW,” he said. “The mechanics and the whole team are very good and so friendly and the bike is very fast.”

In race two, the Japanese racer had more confidence after a good run in race one and looked like his old self to complete the first lap in 13th place.

He gradually moved forward to eventually cross the finish line in 10th place to pick up six championship points.

In the final race of the weekend, Kiyo made a bad start and was boxed in at turn one, dropping down the order to 22nd. He then recovered to ride through the field and take the chequered flag in 15th to claim another championship point.

This weekend brings the next round and two further races, beginning with free practice on Friday at 10.15am and 4pm.

Saturday qualifying is at 4.02pm followed by two 20-lap races on Sunday at 1.30pm and 3.30pm.