Buildbase BMW rider Ryuichi Kiyonari won both races under sunny skies at Donington Park this afternoon, just hours after he announced he’ll be sticking with his team for 2015.
|Kiyo held off Byrne in both races today
Photo: MCE BSB
Kiyonari secured victory in a stunning race one which was decided at the final corner as the Japanese held off Shane Byrne at Goddards. As pole position man John Hopkins was unable to convert his pole position into a strong start, it was Byrne who got the holeshot on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki on the opening lap ahead of Kiyonari and Easton.
Pulling out a lead over the competitors it was clear something (or someone) big was going to have to stop Byrne, however the Safety car was deployed on the second lap as oil was left on racing line on the exit of Goddards. Bunching up all the riders, the car went back in on lap four of 20 and it left it all to play for. The leading pair of Byrne and Kiyonari began to break away from the pack.
Hopkins crashed out of the race on the seventh lap, out of sixth position as the American was unable to secure the podium he seemed confident of claiming. As they went to just over half race distance, Kiyonari slipped into the lead at the Foggy Esses, however it didn’t take Byrne long to retake the lead with six laps to go. Crossing the line for the final lap, it was the Japanese rider who led the way, putting in a strong effort to hold off Byrne on his PBM machine.
Entering Goddards for the last time in race one, Byrne put in a move to take the lead however he pushed himself wide, meaning Kiyonari took the victory at Donington Park. Following his debut win at Cadwell Park, Tommy Bridewell finished the race in third position ahead of team-mate Brookes and Stuart Easton. Setting the fastest lap of the race on lap eight, Josh Waters started race two from pole position on his Tyco Suzuki
Kiyonari was a forced to be reckoned with for race two, and a strong start saw him take the lead into Redgate ahead of Easton with Byrne in third and Brookes fourth. By the second lap the front four began to break away and it wasn’t long before Byrne got into second position.
It was clear on the fourth lap that Kiyonari wasn’t taking any prisoners and was determined to keep a hold of the lead, with Byrne pushing close behind. Race one podium finisher Tommy Bridewell crashed his Milwaukee Yamaha at the Old Hairpin, losing the front end on lap seven.
Byrne was all over the back of Kiyonari, with a clear view of his RR exhaust as Brookes was able to slot into third position ahead of Easton. With five laps remaining it was looking as if the Australian was pulling in the leaders with the prospect of a six-wheeled battle on our hands. However Brookes was just a few tenths of a second shy of battling with the duo, and even Byrne struggled to match Kiyonari’s pace.
Brookes crossed the line in third position, happy to have secured more podium credits just before the Showdown begins: “Starting from the second row wasn’t really in the plan, but I didn’t get a bad start. Sitting in fourth is where the race went wrong for me, Kiyo and Shakey got away at the front and it took a while to get into a rhythm.
Overall I’m quite happy, I didn’t have the pace to win this weekend and in some degree I was able to catch Shakey and Kiyo..”
Pushing hard to secure the race win, Byrne was out of his seat coming into Hollywood on the final lap, which decided the race win for Kiyonari as Byrne was unable to catch him: “After sending myself into orbit at the first turn on the last lap the race was over from then. I had a plan to try and pass Kiyo at the Old Hairpin like I did in race one, so I squared off coming out of Redgate, got on the gas and got a big flick up out of the seat, he just rode away.
I pushed over the limit for the rest of the lap and got back close but not close enough. It’s a bit frustrating but at the same time I beat my closest rival in the championship twice and pulled a couple more podium credits on him. We’re going into the showdown in the best shape that we can be.”
Kiyonari was able to put in a stunning race, and he crossed the line just under half a second ahead of Byrne: “It was a different race and a different story but this time it was a very hard race because I was leading every lap. I pushed 100% on every lap, in every corner. On the last lap I made some mistakes but I’m very happy, and I’m very tired now.”
Stuart Easton finished in fourth position after being caught by Brookes, as pole position man Waters rounded out the top five. Cadwell Park race 2 winner Peter Hickman crossed the line in sixth position ahead of James Westmoreland on the Buildbase BMW. Showdown contender Chris Walker finished in tenth, one position behind John Hopkins.