BSB: Kiyonari takes first pole in four years in tight Knockhill qualifying

Buildbase BMW’s Ryuichi Kiyonari shot into pole position at the Scottish circuit of Knockhill this afternoon, securing his first pole position since 2010 in the MCE BSB championship.

‘Kiyo’ bagged pole in the closing minutes in Scotland

Photo: MCE BSB

Topping qualifying one, the Japanese rider continued his scorching pace from the start of the weekend and shot straight to the top of the timing sheets as soon as he left pit lane, setting a lap time of 48.086s. Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins was another rider to come out and set a fast lap early on, as well as Shane Byrne. But it was Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha who secured second position in Q1, just 0.05s ahead of Byrne in third.

Q1 didn’t go uninterrupted however as a crash from FFX Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson caused the session to be briefly red flagged as the former TT winner’s bike was left in the middle of the circuit as he walked away unharmed. As the session resumed Kiyonari continued to be untouchable and sailed through into Q2. Byrne topped qualifying two after setting the first flying lap of the session and was able to hold off Kiyonari for the first time of the day. Byrne’s time of 48.319 was enough to put him up 0.04s ahead of Kiyonari, as Brookes rounded out the provisional front row.

Tyco Suzuki had a tough Q2 as both riders failed to make it through to the final session of the day, with Hopkins narrowly missing out on a top ten finish after being pushed out by Barry Burrell on the WD40 machine in the closing minutes. However Burrell was also pushed out of Q2 by Jakub Smrz who shot into sixth.

Qualifying 3 provided fans with edge of your seat excitement as Kiyonari was the first rider to sit in provisional pole before Brookes set a lap time of 48.232 as there were two minutes left on the clock. The Japanese rider then left it until his last flying lap on the BMW to secure pole position by 0.004s and explained: “I am very happy and feel confident with the bike that I can push on. I did faster laps, then went back some places and then on the last lap I knew I had to push and just thought ‘go’. We will push hard tomorrow and hopefully we can win, or at least be on the podium. I will try one hundred percent again for the races.”

Following a solid effort Brookes narrowly missed out on pole position and turned to humour to express his disappointment: “I thought that will do us and I had done enough to get pole without taking any risks. Usually I like Kiyo, but I don’t right now!”

Byrne completes the front row, and as the top ten are covered by just half a second its no surprise he was only 0.118s off pole position “I’ve always said that pole was not that important but being on the front row here is. We will work hard tonight to find that extra bit so we can fight for the wins again tomorrow.”

Home rider Stuart Easton heads the second row, one position behind his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team-mate with James Ellison picking up his pace and securing a top five grid position from the middle of the second row.

Results below:

1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 48.112s
2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.004s
3: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.118s
4: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.060s
5: James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +0.095s
6: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +0.185s

For a full grid click here.

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