The final title-deciding round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place on the Brands Hatch GP circuit on the 17th 'til the 19th October this coming weekend. Rock supported rider Ryuichi Kiyonari has declared that the climactic battle for the Championship has him so excited that he can barely sleep. The veteran WSBK and MotoGP rider has three BSB Championships to his name, but this season has made him feel like a novice fighting for his first title.
Since joining Buildbase BMW Motorrad this year, Kiyonari has defied the odds and taken the BMW S 1000 RR to the brink of BMW Motorrad’s first-ever BSB title in his maiden season. Following the team’s first win in the series in June, Kiyo has been on a roll and has taken win after win, inexorably closing the gap on the early-season favourite.
With a total of seven wins and a further six podium finishes, Kiyo has thrived under the pressure of the season and Showdown, closing the gap to within just 12 points of the current Championship leader and holding it through the thrilling Silverstone round in which both riders each won a race and finished second once.
To guarantee his fourth title Kiyonari must win all three races at Brands hatch. This situation is almost identical to the end of the 2010 season, which saw Kiyo win all three races in the final round at Oulton Park. However with 75 points up for grabs, anything could happen at what is sure to be an incredible weekend of racing action.
Ryuichi Kiyonari said: “I’m feeling like a little kid at Christmas, every time I close my eyes to sleep I get excited thinking about the races this weekend. Nobody knows what will happen, it’ll be a surprise. I’m so excited even I can’t sleep. The situation is like when I won the championship in 2010, and I had to win all three races to take the title. It’s the same situation but the rivals, the bikes and the circuit are different.
“But actually it feels more like 2006 when I won my first ever title. I feel the same excitement and enthusiasm as everything is new and enjoyable: new bike, new team and new rivals. Whether that’s good or bad I don’t know… I can tell you after Brands Hatch! Nobody expected us to be pushing for the title in year one, but I like to be P1 in everything. I want to be first in free practice, in qualifying and in every race. I want to win all three races and win the championship this weekend. I want my fourth title, BMW Motorrad’s first and to win it for Stuart Hicken and the Hawk Racing team.”
Stuart Hicken, Team Owner, said: “This is by far the biggest week of the year – probably the biggest week of any year that the team has had. We have a real, genuine chance to win our first BSB Championship title and that’s just an amazing feeling. Kiyo’s mind-set is win-win-win in all three races, so we’ve got to ensure he’s got a bike that can do just that. And we’re confident that everything is absolutely on form for Brands Hatch.
“Kiyo thrives on the pressure and he’s been here before, in this very situation, where he had to win all three to take the title and he’s done it as well. We as a team have nothing to lose – we are the minnows in the FA cup final. Everyone in the paddock and supporting the series is rooting for Kiyo; he’s a favourite of everyone - perhaps bar Shakey. I hope that all three races are good scraps like we had at Silverstone, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for three wins too.”
James Westmoreland will be hoping to end his season on a high with a trio of impressive results at Brands Hatch. Westmoreland suffered from a hand injury that forced him to miss three rounds; however the Yorkshire rider has found his pace after returning to racing and will be battling at his best for the season finale.
Lee Jackson has guaranteed himself third place in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship, with the top three places in the series now decided following Silverstone. Jackson will be gunning for a final race win of the season on his BMW HP4.