Ryuichi Kiyonari held his nerve despite race-long pressure from Shane Byrne to complete the double at Donington Park. The in-form Japanese rider didn’t put a wheel wrong and has ensured he will go into the championship showdown with all of the momentum, if not the outright points advantage.
The Buildbase BMW rider led every lap but he didn’t enjoy a single moment’s rest thanks to the relentless Byrne but Kiyonari was delighted to hang on and is now setting his sights even higher in the three remaining rounds.
“In the first race I was under a lot of pressure and it was very difficult. In the second race I led all the laps but I was pushing so hard to stay ahead of Shakey. I gave everything because I knew that Shakey was always there. I am very happy, but very tired after today! Now I want the title.”
Byrne never gave up but a crucial error at the start of the last lap cost him a late run at Kiyonari. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider will kick off the showdown at Assen with a 26 point lead over Josh Brookes after beating him to second in race two.
“I had a plan to take him at the Old Hairpin on the last lap, and had to line it up through Redgate, but I was almost launched out of my seat but managed to stay on”, he explained. “I gave 150% but was not close enough to challenge. The consolation is that I gained points on my nearest rival Josh Brookes ready for the Showdown.”
Stuart Easton’s fourth place was in vain after his showdown hopes were extinguished earlier in the afternoon but the Scotsman still rode well to see off Josh Waters and Julien da Costa. Title protagonists Chris Walker and Dan Linfoot rode quiet races to tenth and fourteenth with their showdown spots secure while Tommy Bridewell took the opposite approach, throwing caution to the wind and crashing out of fifth.