The following is from MotorSports Vision...Ryuichi Kiyonari goes into the final two races of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park knowing that a winning double will secure the country's top crown. The HM Plant Honda rider warmed up for that challenge by taking the victory in the Saturday afternoon opening race at the Cheshire circuit ahead of the series leading Worx Suzuki rider Tommy Hill.
There are just 10 points between them, but far from being a private duel for supremacy they also have to take account of the threats posed by both Josh Brookes and Michael Laverty who are in close contention after determined rides at the Cheshire circuit saw them pack the points as they ran in the top five.
Kiyonari, the former two times winner of the crown had to work hard to secure his fourth victory of the campaign. On the opening lap, he was running in fourth place as James Ellison, who had made a perfect get-away, led on his Swan Honda from Hill who had earlier in the afternoon won the Swan Combi Roll for Pole for a sixth time at record breaking pace. Michael Laverty, riding Relentless Suzuki was third, while Brookes, aboard the second HM Plant Honda was back in eleventh place, just in front of Alastair Seeley.
Kiyonari was third on the second lap, and then with a stylish move through on the inside at Hizzy's nosed ahead of Hill on the fifth lap and began to reel in race leading Ellison, accounting for him with a neat more at Island on the eighth lap. By then, Title Fighter Michael Rutter had seen his hopes of the crown ended as a machine problem sidelined his RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati.
Hill tried everything he knew to reel in Kiyonari, but the Japanese rider was able to up the tempo in the closing stages, taking the victory by 0.821secs and afterwards he reflected: "That was a very hard race. The others were very fast, but I have scored good points.
"It was not easy to win, but now I am in a good positions and know that if I win the final two races then I will be champion, but that will be tough," added Kiyonari who can expect more hard challenges from Hill in the two Sunday afternoon races. "I'll have him then," promised Hill. "Kiyo did us in that race, I seemed to lose a little too him in the turns and had a few little moments. The pressure is on us riders now, but that was the idea with the points scoring system."
Hill has the edge, 609-599 points up on Kiyonari, with Brookes third in the standings on 589 points after a battling performance into fifth place, just adrift of Laverty who remains in contention to take the crown for the first time in fourth place on 583 points.
The scrap for the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO Championship intensified as Hudson Kennaugh, riding Splitlath Aprilia, snatched last lap victory from series leading Jentin BMW rider Steve Brogan whose advantage going into the final two races has been cut to just three points.
Race one - 16 laps:
1.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 25m 43.282s
2.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki)+0.821s
3.James Ellison (Swan Honda) +5.707s
4.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +8.459s
5.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +14.627s
6.Tommy Bridewell (Tyco Quay Garage Honda) +15.001s
1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 609
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 599
3.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 589
4.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 583
5.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 546
6.Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 530