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World Supersport

Wednesday 14th September 2011

CHALLENGING START TO THE SHOWDOWN FOR HM PLANT HONDA

The HM Plant Honda team had a difficult start to the final three round Showdown for the British Superbike Championship title at Donington Park last weekend as Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari continue to fight for the title.

Shakey and Kiyo had qualified in fifth and seventh place respectively for the first race and following an impressive start off the line Shakey took the lead on the opening lap, he then swapped places with Michael Laverty for the lead before holding the position for nine laps before Tommy Hill forced him wide at Goddards which saw him drop to fourth. Shakey then was forced to settle for the position and the points as the tyre spun on the rim, slowing his pace. Kiyo meanwhile retired from the first race of the Showdown with a suspected engine braking problem.

In race two Shakey started from second on the grid with Kiyo in seventh and he got another strong start from the front row. However as the pack entered Redgate corner for the first time Shakey collided with Laverty and the pair crashed out. Shakey was able to rejoin the race and a determined ride saw him carve his way through the pack and up the order to finish in eighth position. Kiyo again struggled to run the pace of the leading pack and finished in sixth place.

Shakey said: "We have been up against it this weekend. We had a game plan that looked like it would work - we couldn’t let the Yamahas get to the front so I tried to get into the lead as soon as I could in race one. The final sector has been my weakest all weekend and Tommy was able to pass me twice at the same point. I then had the tyre spin on the rim and I had no answer to him. It had sent us wide the second time which I know wasn’t intentional or malicious and I am not blaming him for trying but it meant the others got a gap and I couldn’t close it back. But that is what the format of the championship now produces and we all want to win the BSB title. In race two we made an improvement and got a good start. I basically got alongside John Hopkins and waited for him to brake and I thought it was absolutely perfect as I got the inside. Unfortunately though Michael was there too and we went down. It was another frustrating moment in the weekend for me and to be 25 points behind really makes me feel for the whole of the HM Plant Honda team. It is not where we need to be but we can learn from the weekend.”

Kiyo said: “It was a hard weekend for me. In race one we had a problem with the engine and it was very disappointing to not have finished the race as we need to be scoring points for the championship. In the second race we tried a different setting to try and improve again but after five laps we had a problem with front chatter and then the rear was spinning and I couldn’t do the lap times to stay with the other riders. I think it puts us in a difficult position to win the championship now but I won’t give up because different things can still happen and we can still win.”

Team Manager Havier Beltran concluded: "In race one Shakey was away at the front and running a good pace but as tyre degradation set in and the pace was then more difficult to sustain particularly on corner entry. We knew we had some work to do before race two but was feeling confident that we could improve. Kiyo had an issue he believes was related to engine braking, but we need to evaluate it when we get back to the workshop to be sure of the exact problem. We changed the engine for race two but again it was a disappointing race and Kiyo didn't show the pace we know he is capable of for whatever reason. In race two for Shakey we knew he could run the times but the incident with Michael Laverty set him back. He rode a blinding race to come through to finish eighth and that just shows the pace that he had and it is all 'ifs' and 'buts' but we believe he could have challenged for the win."

 

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