Motorcycling: Kiyonari sets the pace on UK return

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The Independent Online

Ryuichi Kiyonari celebrated his return to British shores by taking a surprise provisional pole position for tomorrow's World Superbike round at Brands Hatch.

The reigning British Superbike champion has struggled in his debut season on the global stage, lying in 10th place overall on his HANNspree Ten Kate Honda. But he held off the challenge of fellow Japanese rider Nori Haga to take top spot in a time of one minute 26.017sec. Yukio Kagayama completed an unfamiliar all-Japanese front three on his Alstare Suzuki as the title contenders struggled around the Kent circuit in practice yesterday.

The series leader Troy Bayliss holds a 79-point lead over Max Neukirchner but could manage only the 12th-fastest time on his Xerox Ducati, while Neukirchner was back in 14th.

Tom Sykes was the fastest of the British wild-card riders as he wrestled his Rizla Suzuki to ninth position ahead of today's Superpole.