Ryuichi Kiyonari bounced back in sensational style from his qualifying crash by winning the opening British Superbike race of the weekend at Oulton Park. The Japanese rider stormed through tenth on the grid to beat Josh Brookes into second place while Shane Byrne’s winning drought continued with the championship leader taking third.
After only gaining one place at the start, Kiyonari made terrific progress through the field and by the end of lap nine, the Buildbase BMW was on terms with the leading duo. Ryuichi leapt up to second after outbraking Byrne into Lodge and with such a wave of momentum behind him, the Japanese star needed only half a lap to scythe past Brookes, grabbing the lead at the Hizzy’s chicane.
His pace was such that Kiyonari actually set the fastest lap while busy making the race winning overtake and speaking after the race, he admitted to feeling he owed his mechanics after such a disappointing end to qualifying.
“I made a big mistake in qualifying. I had a crash and it gave the team a lot of work to fix the bike. This victory is very important for me and I am very happy, but after that race I want to go back to my hotel and sleep!”
Brookes added more valuable podium credits with second place but the Australian wasn’t satisfied with the end result given the length of time he spent in front.
“I made a mistake in the middle part of the race but I still maintained the gap, but then Kiyo came flying passed me! It was not good enough from me today but I will work harder and try and change that tomorrow.”
Behind Byrne, Tommy Bridewell and Dan Linfoot boosted their showdown prospects with fourth and fifth respectively, both riders leapfrogging the injured James Ellison in the standings. Ellison is now clinging on to the final showdown spot and he might have fallen out of the top six altogether had his GBmoto teammate Chris Walker not crashed out at Lodge. John Hopkins kept his slim showdown hopes alive with sixth ahead of Peter Hickman and Josh Waters while Stuart Easton’s hopes took a knock after only managing ninth.