Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 29 Jun 2014
Ryuichi Kiyonari made history today at Knockhill by storming to BMW’s first ever victory in the British Superbike Championship. The win also marked the first time the three-time champion has stood on the top step since Snetterton in 2011. The Buildbase BMW rider looked to have chance for a second victory in race two, but a moment at the hairpin ended his challenge leaving championship leader Shane Byrne to take the twenty-five points.
Starting from pole position in the first of the day’s races, Kiyonari shot into the lead at turn one ahead of Brookes and Easton. Claiming he was distracted on the line, Byrne lost out two places at the start settling into fifth behind GBmoto’s James Ellison.
Ellison took third from Easton on the second lap but the Scotsman was keen to get it back. Lunging for a small gap left by the Cumbrian at the hairpin, Easton barged through to third position touching the GBmoto Kawasaki causing Ellison to crash out of the race. Gaining momentum after his poor start, Byrne shot past his team mate into second place on the fourth lap.
Kiyonari had stretched out a lead of almost two seconds over Josh Brookes by lap eight of thirty while Byrne passed the Milwaukee Yamaha of Brookes into lap ten, with the Aussie then losing places to both Stuart Easton and Chris Walker on the following lap.
Byrne, some 3.6 seconds back on Kiyonari, came under pressure from team-mate Stuart Easton at around two thirds distance as Josh Brookes began his resurgence passing Chris Walker for fourth. Kiyonari’s lead into the last lap stood at a whopping 5.2 seconds. Byrne upped the pace in the final laps to secure second place as Easton fended off Josh Brookes to take third. Chris Walker crossed the line fourth with Tommy Bridewell completing the top five. Stuart Easton was penalised three places on the grid for the second race after the incident with Easton.
Determined not to be beaten again, Byrne shot into the lead at the start of the second race ahead of race one victor Kiyonari. Drama struck on the first lap as James Westmoreland and Barry Burrell crashed out at the hairpin. Visibly putting the hammer down, Byrne began to pull away from the pack. Kiyonari was able to break the battle for third as Josh Brookes fell back into the pack, once again losing places to Stuart Easton and GBmoto veteran Chris Walker, who then took third from the Scot.
By lap six Kiyonari was on Byrne’s tail, where he sat for another ten laps, putting the pressure on the race leader. The Japanese man made his move on lap twenty, passing Byrne at the hairpin. One lap later however, Kiyonari’s back-end stepped out as he opened the gas to come onto the straight. This gave Byrne the opportunity he needed to get back past the Buildbase BMW. Kiyonari hadn’t given up though; he’d almost caught Byrne when two laps later he went wide at the hairpin. Utterly relentless, Kiyonari had caught the Kawasaki again by the final lap but was unable to secure a move to take the win. Chris Walker took third ahead of Josh Brookes and Stuart Easton.
Byrne now leads the championship by a whopping seventy nine points over Josh Brookes with James Ellison dropping back to third. Crucially however, Ryuichi Kiyonari’s points haul catapulted him into the top six in fifth position. In the podium credits table, Byrne now sits 22 points ahead of his closest rival, Josh Brookes.
Race 1 Result
Race 2 Result