Ryuichi Kiyonari pacesetter as Silverstone BSB gets underway
Ryuichi Kiyonari drew the battlelines in the ongoing “War for Four” titles in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship by setting a scorching pace in opening practice for the penultimate round at Silverstone to outgun his arch-rival Shane Byrne.
Buildbase BMW’s Kiyonari edged closer to the lap record at the Northamptonshire circuit with a time of 2m 02.286s, but Byrne was closing on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, ending the session to within 0.131secs of him.
Byrne currently holds the edge in the title stakes by 12 points and following his victory at Assen last time out he is feeling confident. He said: “I was really looking forward to getting out here as the first lap out is electrifying because of the speed you can reach before you hit the brakes, even for someone that is used to going fast for a living! I spent some time riding with Kiyo today, my focus is on making my bike the best it can be for Sunday so to follow him for a bit gave me an idea on where we can improve.”
The leading duo were not having it all of their own way at Silverstone with Dan Linfoot on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, putting in a fast last minute dash to set the third best time to close them down in the final moments.
Former MotoGP rider John Hopkins and his Tyco Suzuki team-mate Josh Waters sandwiched Tommy Bridewell who was fifth fastest on the Milwaukee Yamaha. His team-mate Josh Brookes, also in contention for the crown was eighth fastest, just adrift of James Westmoreland.
Title Fighter Chris Walker had a tough day onboard the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki as he struggled to 15th place on the leaderboard as he still battles through the pain barrier from his crash last time out at Assen.
Brookes said: “The first session out we continued with our normal routine where we run what we have had previously, or we go for a compromise on settings with what we expect to work at the track. We have come with an Assen set up that has a slight change, knowing what we do about the Silverstone circuit. The next series of things we look at are what problem one is and work on that and then number two and consider that and so on. Number one problem today was the bumps, particularly in the rear as it didn’t handle them too well, so we made significant changes for the second session to fix the problem and then go faster.
“We have made massive improvements on the bumps and corner entry and it feels good, but now we need to work on the exit grip and the steering from the middle of the corner to the exit of the corner. We improved it a bit at the end of the session on old tyres so we could get a fair comparison. On paper it might look bad but actually I am quite comfortable and confident that we can find a good direction tomorrow and hopefully be back in the range of getting closer to Kiyo.”
Bridewell said: “Today has gone ok really and we have just been getting into the weekend. I don’t feel 100 percent comfortable just yet but we are working hard so that we are ready for the races on Sunday. We are trying to get the Milwaukee Yamaha working better over the bumps as it was unsettling it a bit in places and once we have that sorted then we should be ok and ready to go. The boys in the garage are working hard though so we can try and push on again for qualifying tomorrow.”
Free practice one:
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 2m:06.628s
John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +0.782s
Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.806s
Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +0.910s
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.340s
Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves Honda) +1.860s
Free practice two:
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 2:06.286s
Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.131s
Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +0.606s
John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +0.733s
Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.974s
Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki) +1.119s
Luke Mossey topped the free practice time-sheets ahead of the penultimate round of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship at Silverstone despite a crash in the afternoon session.
The Techcare Profile Triumph rider had just put in his best lap of 2m 09.074s before tipping off at Copse Corner and though he returned to the track later he was unable to better that time, remaining 0.368s faster than Luke Stapleford.
Glenn Irwin, the fastest rider in the morning session, ran consistently across the day but in the faster second session, the Gearlink Kawasaki rider was 0.775s down on Mossey.
Graeme Gowland, preparing for races in which he aims to peg back the 12 points deficit he has on his Smiths Triumph team-mate Billy McConnell in the chase for the crown was the faster of the two in both sessions. Gowland was fourth fastest, two positions up on McConnell.
Alastair Seeley, needing positive results to maintain his hopes of regaining the crown, had to settle for seventh on his MarTrain Yamaha, having stopped with a technical problem at Maggotts in an afternoon session.
Alex Olsen, the Supersport EVO champion, was fastest in that category on the Power Projects Racing Triumph.
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