Posted: 02 Apr 2013
With the first round of the 2013 British Superbike Championship kicking off at Brands Hatch this weekend, the ‘war for four’ between Shakey Byrne and returner-to-the-series Ryuichi Kiyonari is getting closer and closer.
Both riders are looking forward to the inaugural event at the Kent circuit and are aiming to get the best start to the season that they possibly can. The first round is a great chance for riders to show what they’ve been working on over winter and get some valuable points under their leathers in order to edge that little bit closer to the BSB title. After all, if Shakey or Kiyo wins this year, they’ll be record breakers. No pressure then…
Shakey, who will be racing at his home circuit, is looking forward to the start of the season. “We want to get the season off to the best possible start,” he said. “My Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team have been working hard all winter to give me the best possible package and I am prepared to push it as far as it takes to win a fourth title. We would have liked to have done more laps in testing, but everyone is in the same boat so it should make it interesting!”
Fresh from a year in Asia Road Racing Championship, Kiyonari is eager to get back on the track. “I am looking forward to the first races of the season but I am also a bit nervous; I always get nervous before the start of a season!” he said. “It is exciting for me to be back in the championship with Samsung Honda – testing has been good, but now all I want to do is race. I have come back to get good results again for myself, the team and the British fans. I want to show that I am not finished, that I can be faster and can win again.”
With much of the media attention focusing on Shakey and Kiyo, it is important to remember that there will be six BSB race winners lining up alongside them on the grid and hungry for the accolade of the first win of the season. Josh Brookes on the Tyco Suzuki and Alex Lowes on the Samsung Honda can’t be discounted. “I think there is going to be a great deal more to come from the other riders too,” continues Shakey. “I genuinely think this is one of the most competitive championships in the world and I think the racing is going to be really exciting across the classes.”
This thought was echoed by Kiyonari: “There are many good riders in the championship like Shakey, Alex [Lowes] and Josh [Brookes] so it won’t be easy, but I will be trying very, very hard to win again.”
As the saying goes, start as you mean to go on! And there’s not long to wait now…