Ryuichi Kiyonari 2007
September 23, 1982 |
|Current team||Buildbase BMW|
Ryuichi Kiyonari (清成龍一?) (born September 23, 1982, in Saitama, Japan) is a professional motorcycle road racer. He is the 2006, 2007 and 2010 British Superbike champion. He raced for Honda Asia in 2012. He also won the 2008 Suzuka 8-Hour race, teamed with his former WSBK team-mate Carlos Checa. He has a reputation for being at his best when leading races from the front.
- 1 Early years
- 2 MotoGP
- 3 British Superbike Championship
- 4 Superbike World Championship
- 5 Return to British Superbikes
- 6 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship
- 7 Return again to the British Superbike Championship
- 8 FIM World Endurance Championship Suzuka 8 Hours
- 9 Career Statistics
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Kiyonari first raced in 1988 in motocross, which he later stated that he did not especially enjoy. He began circuit racing in 1996, and first raced in the All-Japan 125cc Championship in 1998. He continued in this class until 1999 and spent the 2000 and 2001 season in the All-Japan 250cc Championship, with a shortage of big results, other than 9th place in the 2000 Suzuka 8 Hours race. However, for 2002 he switched to the All-Japan ST600 championship, which he won with four victories. He also took an All-Japan Superbike Championship victory at TI Aida.
He moved to MotoGP in early 2003 to replace the late Daijiro Kato in Fausto Gresini's Telefónica Movistar team. However, he received little support within the team, especially as team-mate Sete Gibernau challenged for the title, and failed to score much in the way of results. There were eight minor points finishes, leaving him 20th overall with a best of 11th.
British Superbike Championship
After coming 6th overall in the British Superbike Championship in 2004, 'Kiyo' won the first four races of 2005, before injuring his ankle in a heavy crash in round 5. He was back for round 9, and retook the championship lead from team-mate Michael Rutter, but eventually was overhauled by the improving Ducati of Lavilla and he finished the season runner up. He also raced in the Valencia Grand Prix for Sito Pons' Camel Honda team, finishing in the points.
In 2006 Ducati again had the upper hand early in the season, with Kiyonari closest to their riders, Lavilla and Leon Haslam. A double victory at Silverstone in the penultimate round kept him in close contention for the title. However, in the double point final round at Brands Hatch, after a win in race one (he was leading when Shane Byrne's heavy crash caused a stoppage - much to Haslam's visible frustration), Kiyonari only needed to finish third in the final race. Kiyonari finished 2nd in the shortened race behind Haslam, thus winning the championship by 8 points.
The 2007 season started at Brands Hatch, a track Kiyo admits he does not like, and his results there were unspectacular, with Jonathan Rea and Leon Camier performing better on their Hondas. However, he took a double win in round three, and a further win in race 2 at Oulton Park, to lie second to Lavilla after four rounds. Finally defended his British champion status at Brands Hatch to win the championship for the second time in succession.
Superbike World Championship
In the second race at Monza, Kiyonari nearly had his first SBK win. Kiyonari was in front as they braked for the final entry into the Parabolica but went wide on the exit and Noriyuki Haga and Max Neukirchner edged him out - Haga for the win and Neukirchner claiming second by a gap of just .009. Kiyonari finished third with a gap of .051, his first Superbike podium. His first two wins came at Brands Hatch, beating Troy Bayliss in race 1 and Noriyuki Haga in race 2. He briefly led the very next race at Donington Park, but fell on lap 2. However, he did win the second race in very wet conditions, visibly sliding the rear end of his bike on many occasions. Kiyonari broke his collarbone in a testing crash at Magny Cours, 2 weeks prior to the event, meaning he missed the race.
For 2009, Kiyo stayed with the Ten Kate Honda team, partnering Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea. His bike was backed by Honda Europe rather than Hannspree. After a somewhat unsuccessful season, he finished 11th in the championship standings.
Return to British Superbikes
In September 2009, Kiyonari returned to British Superbikes to make a wildcard appearance at Croft Circuit, replacing the injured Glen Richards. He finished fourth in race one before finishing race two in 18th position.
In December 2009, he was confirmed as one of HM Plant Honda's riders for the 2010 British Superbike Championship season, partnering Australian rider Josh Brookes. At Cadwell Park he won race one but retired from race two before it began, due to a technical problem on the warm-up lap. He scored a double win at Mallory Park, lifting him to fourth overall in the standings.
FIM Asia Road Racing Championship
For the 2012 season, Kiyonari headed to Asia, spearheading Malaysian team Boon Siew Honda Malaysia Racing as they aspire to lift the FIM Asian SuperSports 600cc trophy. He went on to win the 2012 Asia Road Racing Championship title.
Return again to the British Superbike Championship
In 2013 Kiyonari once again returned to the BSB, racing with his old team Samsung Honda. He finished 6th overall.
In December 2013, his management agency, Speed of Japan announced that Kiyonari will be racing with Buildbase BMW in the BSB in 2014. This news shocked every fan and everyone in racing as no one ever thought that Kiyonari would move out from Honda. Kiyonari's move to BMW is his first ever to race with a manufacturer other than Honda.
FIM World Endurance Championship Suzuka 8 Hours
One of the most prestigious race for Japanese riders, Kiyonari has 4 wins to his name at the Suzuka 8 Hours. He is the rider with most wins that is currently still active, and is planning to aim for a record-tie 5th win at Suzuka in 2013
1998- 26th, All Japan Road Race GP125 Championship #90 Honda RS125R
1999- 23rd, All Japan Road Race GP125 Championship #26 Honda RS125R
2000- 20th, All Japan Road Race GP250 Championship #111 Honda RS250R
2001- 16th, All Japan Road Race GP250 Championship #100 Honda RS250R
2002- 1st, All Japan Road Race ST600 Championship #54 Honda CBR600RR
2003- 20th, MotoGP #23 Honda RC211V
2004- 6th, British Superbike Championship #23 Honda CBR1000RR
2005- 2nd, British Superbike Championship #6 Honda CBR1000RR
2006- 1st, British Superbike Championship #2 Honda CBR1000RR
2007- 1st, British Superbike Championship #1 Honda CBR1000RR
2008- 9th, Superbike World Championship #23 Honda CBR1000RR
2009- 11th, Superbike World Championship #9 Honda CBR1000RR
2010- 1st, British Superbike Championship #8 Honda CBR1000RR
2011- 6th, British Superbike Championship #1 Honda CBR1000RR
2012- 1st, Asia Road Race SS600 Championship #23 Honda CBR600RR
2013- 6th, British Superbike Championship #23 Honda CBR1000RR
2014- British Superbike Championship #23 BMW S1000RR
- "Kiyonari to race for Honda Asia". BSN. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
- "Kiyonari makes BSB return". Insidebikes. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Kiyonari confirmed by HM Plant Honda". Insidebikes. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Brookes ensures HM Plant double". crash.net (Crash Media Group). 2010-05-23. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "Kiyonari double lifts him into contention". crash.net (Crash Media Group). 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "BSB final standings 2011". Motorsportvision. Retrieved 2011-12-16.