Kiyonari and Honda take double World Superbike podium at Monza
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda Racing CBR1000RR) followed a third place qualification in Superpole with two third place finishes in the Word Superbike races at Monza, in a day full of drama and upset in the championship fight.
The first Superbike race was stopped after a first chicane incident which led to three separate but related crashes involving five riders, one of whom was 21st place qualifier Tommy Hill (Honda Althea CBR1000RR). The subsequent one-hour delay caused further changes of schedule through the day, although race two started on time.
Once more Kiyonari led the Honda charge, having his best day of the year so far in WSB, and moving into the top ten overall.
Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) scored a fifth in race one and a fourth in race two, the latter an impressive result, just seven seconds from the winner after starting in sixth position on the grid.
A day of contrast for Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR), now fourth in the overall championship, came after he improved from a qualifying place of 17 in Superpole, but was forced out of race one with a fuel problem, while in race two he rallied well and took a fine seventh.
Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) suffered a lack of outright competitiveness after earning a gird slot of ninth, finishing ninth in race one and tenth in the second leg of the meeting.
Tommy Hill finished the restarted race one in 20th place, in race two he came home 16th, just one place away from a point. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Honda CBR1000RR) finished race one 21st, but was forced out of race two.
Honda World Superbike Rider Interviews
Ryuichi Kiyonari Speaks…
"I am so happy to get these results for myself and for the team. We have worked very hard to find a good setting with the CBR1000RR this season but we have not always had good luck. My start was very bad in race one but I was able to fight back lap-by-lap during the race, although I was very surprised and happy when they told me I was third. In the second race I had a better start and I must say I am a little disappointed. I had the speed to catch Fabrizio but not quite enough to get past him. But this is my best result for a long time and I hope it indicates the start of a better part of the season for me and the team."
Leon Haslam Speaks…
"I went out on my second bike today, which I hadn’t been riding all weekend, and took a bit of a gamble with it. We had some issues with the fuelling and the suspension, but we decided to stay with the set up we used in Assen. It took me a few laps to get into it, but I was able to run a good pace. The pace in the end of the race was definitely good enough for a place on the rostrum. It was a tough weekend, with bad qualifying results and a disappointing first race. To finish the second race in seventh race place is a good enough result, so I am pretty happy."
Jonathan Rea Speaks…
"We just had a few problems with the bike in the latter stages of the race, I don’t know whether it’s the light fuel load or what, but it developed a bit of chatter which was quite hard to dial out after race one. I got busted by a pretty hard move by Laconi in that race and, by the time I’d got back past him, I’d lost touch with the leading group. In Race 2 I got a much better start and tried really hard to catch Fabrizio and Kiyo, but they had a little more left in the tank at the end. Still, I’ve equalled my best Superbike result and we’ve shown that we can race at the front now."
Carlos Checa Speaks…
"It is not so exciting to fight for tenth place but this is what it is at the moment. At the beginning things were not so bad, but we were carrying some of the limitations of before. Entry points and there was still some jumping in the rear, it was difficult to get side grip on throttle opening, and I was struggling to get to the front group."
Tommy Hill Speaks…
"Race one was really very difficult for us. Immediately after the start there was a big crash in the first chicane, someone bumped into my bike and I crashed. We were able to restart the race, as I did not injure myself, although I was forced to use my second bike & I struggled with the same problems I have found during the qualifying session. I tried to ride aggressive but I couldn’t really chase the riders in front of me and the only thing I could do was try and finish the race."
In the overall rankings, Noriyuki Haga is still leading, on 200 points, Monza race two winner Ben Spies is second on 146, race one winner Michel Fabrizio is third with 125. Haslam holds fourth place only 22 points behind, the last rider with over 100 points after ten individual races. Rea is eighth with 77 and Kiyonari tenth with 65.