MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship history will be made this weekend (17/18/19 October) at Brands Hatch in Kent as Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari go head-to-head for the final time this year to decide who will lift the coveted title for a record-breaking fourth time.
The title fight goes down to the wire at the triple-header event, with Byrne coming to his home round by a slender 12-point lead. The pair shared the victories at the most recent round at Silverstone two weeks ago.
Byrne said: “I have to treat Brands Hatch as a place where I need to come out and try and have three wins. That is what is top of my agenda because in BSB you would be crazy to assume that just because myself and Kiyo have been at the front for the last two rounds that it will happen at Brands Hatch.
“The fourth title is massive to me – it is two hands on history at the end of the day. If that happens for myself or Kiyo, one of us will become the most successful rider in the championship’s history – ever, period, full stop. I have won the most races and to win the most titles too would be awesome. We want to have three great races and then may the best man win. Fingers crossed we can get the job done and walk away from Brands Hatch as a very happy boy.”
Kiyonari said: “Brands Hatch GP circuit is one of my favourite tracks and now we have nothing to lose. I have to win all three races; I can’t let Shakey finish in front of me as he has a 12 point lead.
“I am thinking of all the different things that can happen and the championship all the time. I have to keep strong and keep pushing – it is very simple now. For sure we have pressure, it would be the fourth title, the first for the team, the first time for BMW, so there are many important things. The pressure is more and more, but we will be trying hard to win the three races.”
The triple champions will also face the growing opposition from Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell as the pair wrestle for third place in the overall standings. The pair are ready to come out fighting to add to their combined five wins and 11 podiums so far this year.
Brookes said: “My thoughts on Brands Hatch are to try and recover some personal satisfaction after what has happened at the end of this season, so looking to the weekend all I can do now is come out and try to achieve the best three results possible in the final races. That is the same objective that I have had at every round, as you always go out to win, but now I can only try and get the last three wins of the season as the championship is done for me. Brands Hatch needs to be about me having a good weekend with positive results.”
Bridewell said: “There are always lots of different emotions before the last round of the season, but I can’t wait for it now really. We were strong on the GP circuit earlier in the season and it was only a brake issue that cause a DNF when we could have been fighting for the podium. It is one of those tracks where I have always had to work hard all through the weekend and then we have come strong on raceday.
“There is a lot at stake at Brands Hatch, we can’t win the title but we can certainly take third in the championship and we certainly want to finish as high as possible. I need to maximise on the weekend at Brands Hatch and with three races we will be giving it everything.”
John Hopkins is more-determined than ever to land that elusive first podium of the season and team-mate Josh Waters is looking to rediscover the form that brought him his first-ever British Superbike victory at the same venue in the summer on the GSX-R1000.
John Hopkins: “We’ve been right at the sharp-end in qualifying now for quite a few meetings and for one reason or another I haven’t quite been able to transfer that into a podium finish. It’s been a long time coming and I’ll be working as hard as ever this weekend and doing my utmost to stand on the Brands podium in front of what will undoubtedly be a huge spectator turn-out for the final round with Tyco Suzuki.”
Josh Waters: “I’ve had a really enjoyable year with Tyco Suzuki and we have steadily improved meeting-by-meeting, and if anyone had told me at the start of the year that I’d win two races and be fighting for regular top-six spots I’d have been made up. But we continually have to re-evaluate in this game and I really want to be in that front-group in the races this weekend fighting for podiums and of course wins. We aren’t in the hunt for a championship but I’d like to put the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 on the podium where it belongs this weekend and score as heavily as I can in the points. Seventh place in the championship is still mathematically possible and that’s the goal.”
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