BSB 2011 – Round Nine – Cadwell Park
Defending Champ Kiyonari under pressure as BSB hits Cadwell Park
Reigning MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari is under pressure as he prepares for a make or break ninth round at Cadwell Park this August Bank Holiday weekend in his bid to secure the crown for a record fourth time. The HM Plant Honda rider is one of eight riders chasing the remaining three places among the top six in the standings who will then become the ‘Title-Fighters’ who will battle for the title in the final three round Showdown of the series.
Kiyonari’s team-mate and current leader in the overall standings Shane Byrne has already secured his place as a ‘Title Fighter’ together with Samsung Crescent Suzuki’s John Hopkins and Tommy Hill aboard the Swan Yamaha. The three races at the Lincolnshire circuit, the first on Sunday which was postponed from Oulton Park and the usual two on Bank Holiday Monday, are all about scoring podium credits for Byrne and Hill which will prove vital in the outcome of the title. Hopkins however will not race this weekend as he continues his recovery from the finger injuries he sustained at the Brno round of MotoGP.
Byrne said: “I am definitely looking forward to getting back out again on the HM Plant Honda. We had a test last week but unfortunately it didn’t go completely according to plan. We didn’t have some new parts we had planned on testing and then the second evening it rained! That said though, we were able to get some laps around Cadwell Park on the first evening and it did give us some things to think about. This weekend is the team’s home round so I am keen to do a good job for them there, as they have had strong results there in the past, and I want to be pulling in those Podium Credits. Then it’s all about the Showdown!”
The pressure this weekend will be on the eight riders who have a mathematical chance of making the cut ahead of the Showdown. Michael Laverty riding the second Swan Yamaha is currently in fourth place in the standings, 33 points clear of the drop zone whilst Josh Brookes is less secure in fifth place for Relentless Suzuki. The Australian has recently tested at the circuit to ensure that he is ready to challenge for wins in what promises to be a dramatic three race battle for supremacy.
That leaves Kiyonari in sixth place and a precarious five points ahead of the vastly experienced Michael Rutter aboard the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati. Kiyonari has also tested at Cadwell Park, the home circuit for his Louth-based team, in an effort to return to podium finishing form. The defending champion has only scored one victory at the Lincolnshire circuit to date, although has packed in seven other podium finishes, and that should give him confidence at this crucial stage of the season.
Kiyonari said: “We tested again before Cadwell Park as we needed to make more improvements for this weekend from me and the HM Plant Honda. This is the home round for me and the team and I know I need to push here for results in order to fight for the championship. We have lots of ideas for improvements and have been trying very hard as I know this is going to be a very tough round because there are lots of riders who are trying to be in the top six for the Showdown. We will be doing everything this weekend to get back on the podium again as I want to be winning again and I have to try and do that here. The most important thing for me is to be inside the top six for the Showdown.”
Rutter is poised to strike and in a good run of form having snatched two podiums in addition to five top five finishes in the previous two rounds and he goes into these races knowing that he has all to gain and nothing to lose. Gary Mason who is currently eighth in the overall standings aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki is equally bullish about his chances.
Rutter said: “This is of course going to be an important weekend for me and the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team, but we are not putting ourselves under any pressure as we will be doing everything we can as usual to get results. We are only five points adrift of Kiyonari in sixth and 16 off Brookes so we are still in with a shot that’s for sure. I can only go out and do my best and if they struggle then we can take the advantage as anything can still happen. The position is there for me to take so all we can do is go out at Cadwell Park and give it everything at the Rapid Solicitors’ home round.”
Jon Kirkham who took his maiden BSB victory at Croft back in May, needs to re-kindle that form if he is to join his team-mate Hopkins in the top six while Peter Hickman is hoping to make local knowledge count on his home circuit in a last attempt to put the Tyco Honda among the ‘Title-fighters’.
An outside chance of still securing a place as a ‘Title Fighter’ is the former four times runner-up in the BSB title stakes Chris Walker riding the Pr1mo Kawasaki, so expect to see the Nottinghamshire rider making life difficult for the rest as he goes all out to grab an all important top six place in the standings.
Aussie Glen Richards is confident that he can continue the consistent run of form that has taken him comfortably into the lead in the chase for the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class title but the WFR Honda rider is well aware of the strong form of his team-mate Graeme Gowland who has won four of the previous five races.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of Cadwell Park:
1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 255 (THROUGH TO SHOWDOWN)
2. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 231 (THROUGH TO SHOWDOWN)
3. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 210 (THROUGH TO SHOWDOWN)
4. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 163
5. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 146
6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 135
7. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) 130
8. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 115
9. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 112
10. Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) 98
— Relentless Suzuki Preview
The Bank Holiday British Superbike triple-header takes place this weekend at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire – probably the most pivotal weekend of the season as the top six Shoot-Out contenders will finally be decided.
Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing’s Josh Brookes currently holds fifth place in the Championship standings and the Australian is feeling confident ahead of Cadwell – a venue where he is renowned for giving the official BSB photographers some high-flying action over the famous Mountain section of the circuit.
“Cadwell has been good to me in the past and with the recent test behind us, we can go into the round with a lot more confidence. We’ve been on a decent run recently, which could have been better at Brands after winning the opening race, but you need a bit of luck as well as putting in the hard work. Coming out of this weekend in the top six is the main aim but we’ll not be holding back for podiums or wins if they come our way.”
Alastair Seeley, who has been in a rich vein of form lately, also returns to action in the British Supersport class this weekend. The former British Superstock champion will arrive in Lincolnshire having taken four wins from the last five races, which included memorable doubles at Snetterton and Brands Hatch on the all-new GSX-R600 Suzuki.
The Supersport Championship has attracting a significant amount of media attention this season, and Seeley will be hoping to make the headlines once again, as he chases his third double in just four meetings.
“We had a good solid test at Cadwell last week giving us an idea of the set-up needed on the GSX-R600. That will save us some time in the first couple of sessions. Last year the Superbike was hard work for me around the final sector but the 600 feels really good and I’m confident we wont need to hang back this weekend. When you’re winning, you’re the man to beat and that’s the way I want to keep it. It’s Ben’s home round, which will obviously add a bit of pressure for him, and I’m sure crashing here last year will also be in the back of his mind.”
Philip Neill – Team Manager
“Obviously this is a very important round for us. After a great win at Brands with Josh in race one, the small mishap in the last race stopped us from being fairly comfortable coming into Cadwell. Now we need a solid weekend to consolidate our top six position.
“On a positive note, we have a good history at the circuit as does Josh who has enjoyed significant success there. As a team we have now completed all the hard work in terms of bike preparation and we even managed to squeeze in a Cadwell test for both riders just last week.
“We ran through a number of engine and set-up options for Josh, just so he would be comfortable coming into this round of the Championship. We all like to go racing for wins and if they come this weekend we’ll certainly take them. But this weekend is all about qualifying for the top six and taking podium credits where possible; after that we can start pushing for the Championship.
“In Supersport not much has changed since the previous rounds. Alastair has been doing a great job and gained plenty of exposure for his two wins at Brands Hatch. He just needs to keep enjoying his racing and hunting down those wins where possible. That’s pretty much all we can do in our quest for the Championship, but with Ben not making any mistakes so far – I’d say it’s now his to lose.”