Team Alstare Suzuki's Max Neukirchner remains in second place in the World Superbike Championship after finishing seventh and fourth in today's rain-lashed Brands Hatch 10th round in Kent.
Race one was delayed because of a rain shower as the teams lined up on the grid, but the track dried out and the race got under away after 15 minutes.
Team Suzuki Alstare rider Yukio Kagayama took fourth place, with team mate Fonsi Nieto fifth. Neukirchner struggled with a tyre problem but still came home in seventh place.
Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) won the race - his first ever WSBK win - with Troy Bayliss (Ducati) second and Max Biaggi (Ducati) third.
Race two did not start well for Kagayama: He was hit by Briton Tom Sykes on the first lap and was forced to go straight on into the gravel. He crashed, but remounted and rejoined the race dead last but was too far behind and could only finish 25th.
Neukirchner had a much better race this time, ending fourth, with Nieto just behind in fifth. Kiyonari had a terrific battle with fellow countryman Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha), but managed to hold him off and take his second win of the day with Troy Corser (Yamaha) a distant third.
Fonsi Nieto - Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 5th:
"In terms of points, today has been one of our best race days recently and I'm happy about that. I had some tyre problems in race one and that prevented me from pushing harder. We are using some new front forks and they are better for braking and entering the turns, but we need more time to evaluate them and understand how we can get better grip. I was more aggressive in race two and pushed harder, but I lost contact with the leaders after about five laps and then it was difficult to get back into contact. All in all though, I'm happier this weekend."
Max Neukirchner - Race 1: 7th, Race 2: 4th:
"Race one wasn't so good because I guess we used a tyre that was too soft and it was spinning a lot and not giving good grip. I kept going as best I could and tried to score as many points as possible. The second race was much better. We used a harder tyre and I was happy to take fourth place and maintain second place in the championship. We were unable to try anything in this morning's warm-up because of the wet conditions and this is the kind of track where you need to put in a lot of laps to get a good set-up. Once again, my team worked very well this weekend and I want to thank them for that."
Yukio Kagayama - Race 1: 4th, Race 2: 25th:
"I am very disappointed with how today worked out because I really felt that I could make two very good results. I had problems entering the turns in race one and the bike was chattering a bit at the rear end. It was bad in some corners and not so bad in others but I adjusted my riding style and tried to work my way round the problem. I lost some positions, but my lap times were pretty consistent and I was pleased to get fourth. In race two, I got hit by Tom Sykes on lap one going into Druids. His bike caught my brake lever and that locked up the front end and I was forced to go straight into the gravel - where I crashed! It took a few moments to get the bike upright again and then I got back on it and rejoined the race. I was last by a very long way, but I decided to keep going and finish the race even though I had no chance of any points. I did this because I have many fans in Britain and I did not want to disappoint them."
Race 1: 1 Kiyonari (J-Honda), 2 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati), 3 Biaggi (I-Ducati), 4 Yukio Kagayama (J-Suzuki Alstare), 5 Fonsi Nieto (E-Suzuki Alstare), 6 Checa (E-Honda), 7 Max Neukirchner (D-Alstare Suzuki), 8 Corser (Aus-Yamaha), 9 Smrz (CZ-Ducati), 10 Rolfo (I-Honda).
Race 2: 1 Kiyonari, 2 Haga (J-Yamaha), 3 Corser, 4 Max Neukirchner (D-Alstare Suzuki), 5 Fonsi Nieto (E-Suzuki Alstare), 6 Fabrizio (I-Ducati), 7 Sykes (GB-Suzuki), 8 Checa, 9 Smrz, 10 Lanzi (I-Ducati), 25 Yukio Kagayama (J-Suzuki Alstare).
Points: 1 Bayliss 334, 2 Max Neukirchner (D-Alstare Suzuki) 252, 3 Corser 242, 4 Checa 233, 5 Haga 230, 6 Fonsi Nieto (E-Suzuki Alstare) 183, 7 Biaggi 166, 8 Kiyonari 165, 9 Fabrizio 161, 10 Xaus 148, 11 Yukio Kagayama (J-Suzuki Alstare) 109.
RIZLA SUZUKI REPORT:
Rizla Suzuki's Tom Sykes made a stunning World Superbike debut at Brands Hatch during round 10 of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship, finishing race two in seventh after retiring from third during race one due to a stone-hole in his radiator.
Sykes got off to an excellent start in the opening race and settled comfortably into fourth position. On the opening lap he was pressuring multiple World Champion Max Biaggi when a stone fired through his radiator holing it and forcing him to retire nine laps later while in third place.
The gritty 22-year-old put this behind him in race two and dug deep trading places once again with Corser and Championship leader Troy Bayliss. He was running as far forward as fourth place until the latter stages of the race eventually finishing a solid seventh.
"I have had an excellent weekend at Brands Hatch mixing it with the World Superbike regulars. The fans really got behind me and every time I came over the line I got a big cheer. I want to say a huge thank you to the Rizla Suzuki team for all their hard work; I'm thrilled with what we have achieved. It was a superb opportunity and I have enjoyed every moment of it plus I have learned a lot from the other riders. I am now looking forward to Knockhill next weekend where I hope I can pick up from where I left off at Oulton Park."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I'm over the moon with how the weekend has gone. Tom did a great job and held his own on track amongst the World's best - I'm very proud of him. He and the Rizla Suzuki team have shown that they can perform at World level even when using a lower specification British Superbike engine. I've been impressed with how hard everyone has worked this weekend; we have all enjoyed the experience.
"I was gutted for him in race one but to compete for a podium position at World level really is an achievement. He is a very talented rider and that has shone through when it needed to, now it is back to BSB duty at Knockhill next weekend."
SUPERSTOCK 1000 REPORT:
The seventh round of this year's Superstock 1000 FIM Cup will be one to forget for Xavi Simeon and Team Alstare Suzuki.
He had hoped to maintain his title challenge and put pressure on Maxime Berger (Honda) and Brendan Roberts (Ducati) but was sidelined even before the first lap of the race! On his inspection lap, his bike suffered a fuel problem and the bike spluttered to a halt on the track: He asked the corner workers to get the bike back to the pits so that the problem could be rectified but they would not arrange for the bike to be transported back and so he was unable to line up on the grid for the race.
Berger won the race with Morais (Kawasaki) second, Antonelli third (Honda) and Roberts fourth and Simeon is now third in the title standings, 14 points behind Berger and Roberts.
Xavi Simeon - DNS:
"To say that I am very disappointed and frustrated would be a big understatement! We had a fuel problem in the morning warm-up, changed some things and thought that there would be no further problem. But on the inspection lap the same thing happened again, even though we had changed various parts! I asked the corner workers to get the bike back to the pits, but they couldn't, or wouldn't do it and so I missed the race completely. In Superstock you can only use your spare bike if your number one bike is too badly damaged to continue. As this wasn't that kind of a problem, I couldn't get back to the pits and jump on to my spare bike and so I missed the chance of scoring good points today."
Superstock 1000 results: 1 Berger (F-Honda), 2 Morais (RSA-Kawasaki), 3 Antonelli (I-Honda), 4 Roberts (Aus-Ducati), 5 Polita (I-Ducati), 6 Pirro (I-Yamaha). Xavi Simeon (B-Alstare Suzuki) DNS.
Points: 1 Berger 109, 2 Roberts 109, 3 Xavi Simeon (B-Alstare Suzuki) 95, 4 Polita 94, 5 Pirro 83, 6 Antonelli 57.
WORLD SUPERSPORT REPORT:
With two red flag situations, the World Supersport race at Brands Hatch was a bizarre one: In rainy weather conditions the first red flag situation was a result of rain and two crashes at the same place in the ninth lap of the race.
Two laps before this red flag situation, RES Software Hoegee Suzuki rider Didier Van Keymeulen was in 13th place when he had to turn back to the pits because of a technical problem and was not allowed to start again.
Team mate Barry Veneman started the second leg from the sixth position, where he was riding when the second red flag came. After a high-speed crash, Craig Jones remained motionless on the track and after that moment the race direction decided to finish the race.
Marc Hoegee - Team owner RES Software Hoegee Suzuki:
"The weather circumstances were not very good today but we had to deal with it and we did. In the first part of the race both riders were doing well. It is really a pity that Didier had a broken battery because he was on the right way. Barry showed again that we can ride in the front. He was riding strong and we will continue this during the next race."
"Actually I expected a little more today. A top five position was my goal. In the first part of the race I felt stronger and stronger. It started to rain but that didn't bother me. I had the feeling that I could make the gap between me and the front group up. After the red flag situation I had a better start then the first time, but it was harder for me to find that strong feeling back. This feeling could have come back during the race but there was no time anymore to realise that. The big crash of Jones is a very sad end of this race."
Didier Van Keymeulen:
"I trained a lot to make a good start and that worked out well during the race. I was able to follow a group which was battling for the points and after two laps I made some actions and passed some riders. On the seventh lap I noticed that my machine lost power and unfortunately there was nothing else to do than turning back to the pits. It is really a shame because I had a good feeling during the race. But again I made a step forward and I showed that I can fight for the points."