Kiyonari's Superbike despair: 'I can't ride any more'
Triple MCE British Superbike Champion Ryuichi Kiyonari is at a loss. The Japanese star is unable to find anything like the form that has taken him to three BSB crowns and the downcast Samsung Honda man says he ‘can’t ride any more’.
With only 27 points to his name from the opening three rounds, and just six from the weekend’s Oulton Park outing, a track where he has previously been dominant, Kiyonari seems completely lost as to why he is struggling and watching team,-mate Alex Lowes on the podium in every single race so far this year can’t be helping.
“I found the qualifying session difficult, I was too slow and I just can not go fast. I have tried many things. Maybe it is me, I am not pushing enough, as the machine is good,” said Kiyonari, speaking to Bikesport News at Oulton Park.
“I need to push harder and I need to finish the race, unlike what happened at Thruxton. I am pushing at every corner, every lap, every session, but I am too slow and I don’t know why.
“I am too slow and I am three or four seconds off Lowes, and I can not believe it and I don’t know how to ride anymore, hopefully this will change soon, but I don’t know.”
His team are equally non-plussed at to why their returning warrior can’t raise his game to the levels seen in past seasons. “Kiyo is struggling, he is not happy with things and it is really, really difficult. We have made so many changes to the motorcycle for him and trying to work with him to try and understand what he needs to make him go quicker, but it is just not happening at the moment. But something is not right and I don’t know why,” said manager Havier Beltran.
“Alex is on fire, he is an incredibly talented young rider, and things have really gelled and have come together for him. He is working extremely well with the team, getting to grips with everything and he has matured as a young rider. On one hand, I have Alex on a massive high and on the other hand I have Kiyo on a massive low.”
The normally-smiling Beltran has a lot on his plate, trying to find reasons why the man who should be the number one rider is floundering, even offiering the services of a sports psychologist.
“Trying to manage that situation is difficult, and I am not getting the best out of Kiyo with his feedback information. It is demoralising for some of the team members who are working around him, as we all know Kiyo can achieve and be really strong,” continues the Louth man.
“What we are trying to do is show Kiyo we are trying to support him whatever difficulties that he is going through to try and get him out on top. But on the other hand we are trying to support Alex and give him everything he needs too.
“As far as getting a sports psychologist involved I had discussed that with him at the beginning of the year before he even threw his leg over a bike, but he said there is no point because a psychologist does not know how Kiyo feels when he is riding.”