BSB - Legends Byrne, Kiyo to face off at Brands

Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari head into the opening weekend of this year's British Superbike Championship looking for a fast start to their respective bids for a fourth title.

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BSB - Legends Byrne, Kiyo to face off at Brands
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Shane Byrne

Kent rider Byrne and Japanese star Kiyonari are the most successful riders in the series' history.

Defending champion Byrne heads to Brands Hatch this weekend well aware of the prevailing narrative.

"Pre-season, everyone is talking about me and Kiyo but I think there is going to be a great deal more to come from the other riders too," he said. "I genuinely think this is one of the most competitive championships in the world.

"Brands Hatch is my home circuit and we want to get the season off to the best possible start.

"My Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team have been working hard all winter to give me the best possible package and I am prepared to push it as far as it takes to win a fourth title.

"We would have liked to have done more laps in testing, but everyone is in the same boat so it should make it interesting."

Byrne, who also won the title in 2003 and 2008, is just two wins short of Kiyonari’s record tally of 43. The pair have shown a similar pace in testing this year.

"I want to show that I am not finished, that I can be faster and can win again," said Kiyonari, who won the title in 2006, 2007 and 2010.

"There are many good riders in the championship like Shakey (Byrne), Alex [Lowes] and Josh [Brookes] so it won’t be easy.

"It is exciting for me to be back in the championship with Samsung Honda - testing has been good, but now all I want to do is race."

The 2013 grid at Brands Hatch will feature a further six BSB race winners, including last season’s title contenders Brookes at Tyco Suzuki and Samsung Honda’s Lowes, plus former runner-up James Ellison at Milwaukee Yamaha, who switches from MotoGP.

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