RYUICHI Kiyonari proved without a shadow of a doubt that he is back to his winning ways following a sensational victory in what some are already calling the BSB 'race of the year'.
Kiyo, on board the Ashby-based Buildbase BMW, took the fight to the current MCE British Superbike championship leader Shane Byrne and denied him a much-desired win at his home circuit in hot and humid conditions.
The Japanese rider (pictured) came through a challenging weekend which saw him only qualifying sixth, to blitz his way to the finish line in a thrilling race one.
Byrne led Chris Walker and James Ellison until the fifth lap, when the safety car was deployed after Barry Burrell crashed at Druids.
As the yellow flags were lifted, Byrne held the position, but soon got overtaken by his team mate Ellison, leaving Buildbase BMW Motorrad's Kiyonari within striking distance.
Kiyo hunted down the two team mates – overtaking both – to cross the line on his BMW S 1000 RR a mere 0.103 seconds ahead of a disappointed Byrne.
But there was to be no race double for the Japanese star in race two.
While race one was warm and dry, by the time race two rolled around conditions had worsened significantly, with the skies to the north almost black and lit by sporadic lightning.
The race was started, but soon red-flagged due to a crash. With the weather threatening to close in, it was re-started but lasted less than two laps before being red-flagged again due to rain finally reaching the circuit.
The third and final time the race was started in wet but drying conditions was a complete turnaround from the earlier fixture, with three riders making their podium debut as Josh Waters won, former BMW-riding Superstock 1000 champion Richard Cooper came second and Keith Farmer third.
Kiyonari led early on but dropped back before retiring with a misfire.
Kiyonari said: "I'm so happy to have another win so soon. I did worry that people might say 'Kiyo was lucky at Knockhill, but that's all' so to win again was a big relief.
"We had problems getting the set-up right because the chassis is really good but the weather conditions kept changing so much.
"But overnight the mechanics got it working so well and I was fastest in warm-up. I knew I could ride with Shakey, Ellison, Walker – everyone. I relaxed a bit.
"The race was a bit stop-start with the safety car but I had a great battle with Shakey and I was lucky enough to win.
"I hoped to do the same in race two, but Shakey told me not to be so greedy! Race two was just all over the place with different settings, weather changing and having to guess how it would happen.
"I predicted there would be more rain so I had a wet setup - but it didn't quite get that wet. Next time I'll know better. I'm still learning – I know I'm quite old, but I don't know everything yet!"