Ryuichi Kiyonari celebrated the announcement of his one-year contract extension with Buildbase BMW by winning race one at Donington Park. The Japanese rider came out on top in a thrilling head-to-head with Shane Byrne which was ultimately decided at the very last corner.
The euphoria of qualifying soon disappeared for John Hopkins who was swallowed up at the start before crashing at the Melbourne loop on lap six. This left Byrne to set the pace at the front with Kiyonari keeping a watching brief in second ahead of Josh Brookes, Stuart Easton and Tommy Bridewell. Easton was particularly keen to make progress in his last-ditch attempt to snatch a showdown spot but he was soon relegated to fifth by Bridewell, all-but ending his title hopes.
Kiyonari made his move at the Foggy Esses on lap twelve but having noticed his rival had no more pace than him, Byrne chose to move straight back past at the Old Hairpin shortly afterwards. The pair continued to trade blows with Byrne putting a second move on the BMW at the Old Hairpin only to be forced aside by an uncompromising Kiyonari at Starkeys Bridge but the outcome was still in question heading into the final lap.
Byrne appeared to have too much work to do as they exited the Melbourne Loop but as he admitted afterwards, the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki man wasn’t going to sit back and charged up the inside into Goddards. ‘Shakey’ did make it to the apex first but overshot the left-hander, opening the door for Kiyonari to claim his fifth win of the season.
Tommy Bridewell overhauled his teammate Josh Brookes in the battle of the Milwaukee Yamahas to take third while Stuart Easton’s showdown challenge officially ended despite finishing fifth, Chris Walker’s eleventh spot enough to secure him a place in the top six. Dan Linfoot could only manage eighth behind Josh Waters and Peter Hickman but like Walker, the Quattro Plant rider had bagged the points he needed to reach the title showdown.