Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 02 Mar 2015
Buildbase BMW boss Steve Hicken has said he is not concerned that the team’s number one rider, Ryuichi Kiyonari, has had to miss out on Spanish testing.
The 2015 British Superbike runner-up experienced difficulties sorting his visa to travel back to Europe from Japan in time for his team’s first test of the season at Almeria.
Steve Hicken, who runs the Buildbase team with his Dad, Stuart, says Kiyo will arrive in the UK on March 12th and begin testing immediately at Brands Hatch the day after.
“We’ve known for a while that there was a chance he wouldn’t be here and we’ve now arranged for him to get to the UK on March 12th”, Hicken explained. “We’ll test at Brands on the 13th, Mallory on the 18th and Donington on the 26th.”
Kiyonari’s absence could place him on the back foot compared to main rival Shane Byrne, who will have tested his 2015 Kawasaki ZX10-R three or four times before the BMW man even sits on his S1000RR for the first time this season.
However, Hicken says he is not concerned and points out that Kiyonari didn’t test in Spain before going on to fight for the title last season.
“It’s the same as last year really,” he continued. “Lee came out to Spain but nobody else did in the team. It was important for us to come out this year with Lee stepping up to the superbike, he needs as many laps as possible. Ideally we’d have liked to have had Kiyo here but that’s it, March 12th is when he’ll be here and we’ll get on with the job.”
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Despite Lee Jackson, who steps up to the British Superbike class full time this season, flying solo for the Hinckley-based team, there are three bikes in the garage. Two 2015-spec S 1000 RRs and a 2014-spec bike. The Lincolnshire teenager is mainly spreading his time across the two 2015 bikes, with the older bike being used for a comparison where necessary. However, Hicken admits that there’s a chance Kiyonari could use the 2014 machine in the first round of the season at Donington Park next month should he feel that would be best.
“We’ve got three 2015 bikes ready to go at the minute, we haven’t brought one as we came across in the van. When we get to the UK we’ve got a few different set-ups to try and obviously we’ve also got the 2014 bike, it was nearly a championship winner, we know it’s good, so we’ll see how they compare and make our mind up which one we’re going to use at Donington.”