Ryuichi Kiyonari outgunned his rival Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in the battle for pole position as the ‘War for Four’ MCE Insurance British Superbike titles continues to rage at the penultimate round of the season at Silverstone.
The Japanese rider bounced back from a crash in the morning practice session to conquer a drying Northamptonshire circuit in style with a flying lap of 2m 10.141s aboard his Buildbase BMW, opting for slick Pirelli tyres in the changing conditions.
“I am very happy to be on pole, but for me it has been a very difficult day with the crash in the morning. It was a small high-side but that was disappointing and then in qualifying I knew I had to just push and build confidence,” said Kiyonari who had outpaced Byrne by 0.799s.
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Byrne, who takes a 12 points lead over Kiyonari into the races, decided to run with an intermediate front Pirelli tyre in the final element of the qualifying sessions. The standings leader was able to put in a last lap charge to secure his front row start, closing in on his Japanese rival.
“Both myself and Kiyo were in a difficult situation as we both wanted front row starts, but really could not take any chances. I decided to run with an intermediate front tyre and that was a gamble on the side of caution, but I put in a semi-decent last lap and am ready for good races,” said Byrne.
Gary Mason completed the front row of the grid on the Tsingtao WK Kawasaki, a first for the team in MCE BSB ahead of the chasing pack. Jon Kirkham and the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team held fourth after he edged out title contender Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha.
Brookes said: “There are a couple of good points today and also a couple that are not so good. The best thing was is that we have used a setting in the wet that worked brilliantly; I set the fastest lap in the session this morning. That feels good as I haven’t had that feeling in the wet for a while, we saw that at Cadwell Park and then at Assen. We have got something sorted now in the wet but I still feel like we are a bit off in the dry. I needed more dry time today to nail a good feeling.
“In qualifying it was quite awkward as some parts were wet and full dry in others. I ran the intermediate tyres for the first time in Q2 and then for the last one I knew it was edging towards slicks again. I went for a slick rear and I was unsure about the front, but decided as Stowe was still wet to go for an intermediate front. I thought everyone might have done the same, but as it turns out it probably would have been better to go for a slick. I think the lap time would have been better so I am left disappointed I didn’t make the right decision, but we have accepted that and now we can look forward to getting some more confidence in warm up ready for the race.”
Title Fighter Chris Walker set the seventh best time, just ahead of his Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki team-mate James Ellison with Dan Linfoot on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki ninth, ahead of fellow Title Fighter Tommy Bridewell who crashed his Milwaukee Yamaha before setting a flying lap in qualifying three.
Bridewell said: “The conditions this morning were really wet so it was difficult to get any understanding for the bike and we ended up fourth. Then qualifying was difficult. Q2 we had half decent pace for the conditions but it was always going to be very hit and miss where you are going to end up on the grid in those conditions. Unfortunately in Q3 I lost the front at Farm. It is not ideal as we are starting from tenth but we should have strong pace for the race. We saw at Assen where I started 18th that it hopefully shouldn’t take me too long to go through the pack and get up to the front. That is the aim for tomorrow.”
Alastair Seeley capitalised on the woes of the Smiths Racing Triumph team-mates Billy McConnell and Graeme Gowland in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Sprint race at Silverstone to score his seventh victory of the season.
The Martrain Yamaha rider had been battling throughout the opening laps of the race with Ulsterman Glenn Irwin as the pair continued to swap paint in their intense fight for the victory. The Gearlink Kawasaki rider was pushing Seeley for the win and neither were prepared to give an inch, but it was over for Irwin when a technical problem forced him to retire on lap 5.
Gowland had been battling in the leading pack, before he dropped down the order and was also sidelined with a technical problem, leaving his team-mate McConnell to fly the flag for the Smiths Racing Triumph team in sixth.
Tyco Suzuki’s Taylor Mackenzie and James Rispoli onboard the Team Traction Control Yamaha were scrapping hard for the final podium positions over the final laps, with the pair almost coming to blows on the last lap of the race.
Rispoli grabbed second on the penultimate lap, but Mackenzie, en route to his first ever Supsersport podium finish took the fight to the American, twice pushing ahead before making a decisive at the Loop to move to cross the line in second place.
Luke Mossey finished fourth ahead of Sam Hornsey and Luke Jones with McConnell dropping to eighth on the final lap, ahead of the leading Supersport EVO rider Alex Olsen.
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Silverstone, Sprint race:
Alastair Seeley (MarTrain Yamaha) 19m 53.944s
Taylor Mackenzie (Tyco Suzuki) +9.286s
James Rispoli (Team Traction Control Yamaha) +9.683s
Luke Mossey (Techcare Profile Triumph) +16.980s
Sam Hornsey (Anvil Hire TAG Triumph) +18.127s
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings after Silverstone Sprint race:
Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph) 340pts
Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph) 320
Alastair Seeley (MarTrain Yamaha) 302
Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) 245
Luke Jones (Acumen Industrial Services Triumph) 240
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship qualifying
Danny Buchan headed off the challenge of title rival Jason O’Halloran to put his Tsingtao WK Kawasaki onto pole, though the Honda rider was closing rapidly. Lee Jackson completed the front row on the Buildbase BMW.
Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship qualifying
Title rivals Kyle Ryde and Andy Reid start alongside each other at the front of the grid. Ryde took pole by 1.208s on the PacedayZ Trackdays Yamaha from his FFX Yamaha rival with Nick Anderson completing the front row on the Be Wiser Kawasaki at the expense of his team-mate Joe Collier.
Motul British Motostar Championship qualifying
Moto3 title challenge Joe Irving powered his Redline KTM onto pole start, 0.317s up on top 125GP qualifier Bradley Ray aboard the FAB EE125 with Jayson Uribe completing the front row on the FPW RSR Honda. 125GP rider Josh Owens heads Moto3 mounted Charlie Nesbitt and Jordan Weaving on the second row.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship qualifying
The Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom, comfortably secured the pole start with a best lap that was almost two seconds faster than the series leaders Sean Hegarty and Jamie Neave whose closest title rivals Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto ran seventh fastest in the wet conditions
Ducati TriOptions Cup qualifying
Dennis Hobbs underlined his title challenge by claiming pole position while his team-mate and rival, series leader Leon Morris ran fourth fastest to start from the second row. Marty Nutt and Alastair Fagan split them, in second and third fastest respectively.
TriStar R&G Triple Challenge qualifying
Series leader Freddy Pett starts from pole having outpaced title rivals Scott Pitchers by a little over a second. Phil Atkinson completes the front row, a further half a second down. Tom Carne, Sam Cox and Sam Thompson start from the second row.
Ducati TriOptions Cup – Saturday race
The fifth lap of this penultimate race could have provided the pivotal moment in the outcome of the crown. Dennis Hobbs all but crashed, but held on and then series leader Leon Morris crashed out. Marty Nutt, the outgoing title holder took the advantage, taking the lead and the race win. Hobbs settled for a safe second, enough to put him seven points up on his team-mate Morris going into Sunday’s final race.
Tristar R&G Triple Challenge – Saturday race
Scott Pitchers led throughout to comfortably take the victory by almost six seconds ahead of the series leading Freddy Pett with Phil Atkinson in third place ahead of Richard Steadman and Max Alexander.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship – Saturday race
The Birchall brothers Ben and Tom eased to victory ahead of the title favourites Sean Hegarty and James Neave with Andy Peach/Charles Richardson third from Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto.
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