British Superbikes: Kiyponari struggles at Assen

Kiyonari's disappointing season continued at Assen Picture: Dave Yeomans EMN-160310-144237002
Kiyonari's disappointing season continued at Assen Picture: Dave Yeomans EMN-160310-144237002
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Ryuichi Kiyonari found the going tough at Assen as he made a return from the knee injury he sustained at Donington Park two weeks ago.

But the Market Rasen-based rider battled on regardless and recorded two 18th places in the penultimate round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at the Cathedral of Speed.

The former three-time champion took 21st in qualifying and found himself battling for positions towards the bottom end of the top 20 during the opening encounter.

In the end, he sealed 18th on the final lap giving him 19th on the grid for race two.

The 34-year-old Japanese ace dropped two places on lap one to lie 21st which was where he remained for much of the race. However, a late rally saw him pick off the riders ahead.

He couldn’t make it into the points, but did take his second top 20 finish with an identical 18th position.

“After crashing at Donington, this weekend was difficult and although my knee wasn’t too bad, it still wasn’t 100 per cent and it was holding me back a bit,” Kiyonari said.

“It wasn’t too bad for riding and in each session and race we improved as the team and mechanics changed many things to try and help make the bike suit my style that bit better.

“The bike is very strong, but I ride differently to Kuba Smrz so we have to try different things with the set-up.

“Two 18th place finishes aren’t where we should be finishing as I know there is a lot of potential with the bike, the team and myself.

“We have three races at Brands and I want to make sure I give the team the best results possible.”

The final round is at Brands Hatch from October 14 to 16.