Author: Paul Posted: 20 May 2016
Three-time British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari will miss this weekend's round at Brands Hatch after breaking his left collarbone in an accident during Friday afternoon's free practice session.
After an indifferent start to the season, the Bennetts Suzuki rider had looked to be back to his brilliant best and was battling at the top of the timesheets when he slid off his GSX-R1000 at Graham Hill bend. Ironically it is the third time he has broken the bone in as many seasons, and came at the same tricky left hand corner where his title bid came to an end in 2014.
The Japanese star will miss out on this weekend's action but, with over a month until the next round takes place, at Knockhill, Kiyonari and his Bennetts Suzuki team are confident of being back for the Scottish race. The 33-year-old had planned to return to his homeland during the break in action action, and will fly back to Japan on Monday, where he will undertake treatment on the fracture.
Speaking after the accident, Kiyonari said: “I’m very disappointed because I was feeling really good and really fast on my bike, but unfortunately I made a small mistake and it has ended my weekend. I didn’t have enough load on the front as I braked for turn three, and it’s tucked underneath me. It’s gone from upright, which is why I went down quite hard and have fractured my collarbone. It is a shame because I set a quick time quite early in the session and maybe could have gone faster, I wasn’t pushing too much from the start, so it is a real shame. I’m sorry for the team because I was feeling confident and they were working hard. Now I will focus on getting fit for the next round. There is a bit of time, and I’m hoping to be back for a test at Snetterton, but definitely for Knockhill.”
Having seen his rider make a big step up in performance, the injury was a particular blow for team boss Martin Halsall. He said: "This is a tough one to take. We had a bit of a difficult start to the season, but after the disappointment at Oulton Park we were really looking for a positive weekend. It started well, with Kiyo in a strong P10 after the the opening session. We made some changes and he was instantly fast in FP2, heading to the top of the time sheets early on but unfortunately bad luck has struck again. It’s especially hard to stomach when the time he set was still good enough for fourth in the session, and we had every confidence we could see Kiyo up the front this weekend. Luckily we have a bit of a break before the fourth round, so we’ll now help him focus on getting fit for Knockhill at the end of June.”
Bennetts Suzuki will have just one rider in action around the fast and frantic Brands Hatch Indy circuit this weekend, with Tommy Bridewell flying the flag on the only Suzuki in the British Championship paddock.