Sunday, August 03, 2008

WSBK Brands Hatch: King Kiyo Returns

Ryuichi Kiyonari took a stunning double victory at Brands Hatch in the World Superbike championship, his first visit to British soil since leaving the British Superbike championship for pastures new.

Race 1
The Great British weather decided to take pole position for the first race, when rain caused the start to be delayed. After a few minutes it stopped raining and the race was run in dry conditions. Ruben Xaus was missing after one of his trademark crashes in qualifying left him mildly crocked. Troy Bayliss had put his Xerox Ducati on pole, and he took the hole shot when the lights went out. Troy Corser followed on his Santander Yamaha, with wildcard Tom Sykes in third on his Rizla Suzuki, despite his lowly BSB-spec engine.

In the early laps, Corser and Bayliss were having a nice battle, with Haga following, and Sykes holding off Max Biaggi behind them. Behind that, Ryuichi Kiyonari was setting fastest laps as he clawed his way back to the front after making a dozy start from the front row. Kiyo certainly knows Brands pretty well, having spent a few years in the British Superbike Championship, and being a double BSB champion. He was also on a high from his victory in the prestigious Suzuka 8-hour the previous weekend. Soon enough, the Japanese Ten Kate Honda star passed both Sykes and Corser on the same lap, turning it into a 3-way battle between Bayliss, Haga and Kiyonari.

Suddenly, Haga was off the bike. If anybody was in any doubt that racers have a different definition of the word "slow" than the rest of us, Haga's lowside showed them what's what. Falling off at a "slow" corner, Haga had to run for ages to get to where his bike had slid to rest. He rejoined, but lost loads of places. Tom Sykes kept up his strong showing by passing Corser for third place, but on the next lap he pulled off the racing line with a holed radiator...

Read the rest of the review of Kiyonari's Double at Brands at, where some of my race reviews will be appearing from time to time.

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