With their biggest title threat Gregorio Lavilla in pole position, both Rutter and Kiyo are determined to get a good start to the races at the Leicestershire track. The duo are confident about their chances in the races after securing a double 1-2 finish aboard the HRC-supported CBR1000RR Fireblades at last year’s corresponding event.
Japanese rider Kiyonari has also been fastest in three of the four sessions this weekend. With a narrow advantage of just one point over Lavilla at the top of the championship standings, the 23-year-old is firmly focussed on achieving his 13th victory of the season.
His 32-year-old team-mate was in second position after free practice and first qualifying. With a deficit of just 37 points from the championship leader, Midlander Rutter is definitely not yet out of contention for the title.
Michael Rutter: “Donington Park was a really good track for HM Plant Honda Racing last year. Hopefully, we can repeat that performance again this season. The CBR1000RR Fireblades and Michelin tyres are well suited to Donington Park and we need to use that to our advantage.
“I’m happy to have qualified ahead of Kiyo because as always he is a serious threat at this track, but it would have been better to have been ahead of the Ducatis as well. That’s something that we need to rectify in the race – when it really counts.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari: “I like Donington Park and we have got a good set-up for the HM Plant Honda at this circuit. The Michelin tyres are working well here too, so I’m hoping for two race wins tomorrow – just like last season.
“The Ducatis are very fast here though, so it will be difficult to beat them. I’m expecting two more close races at the front of the field. The most important thing is that I can bring home the factory Fireblade with as many points as possible so that I’m still in a strong position for the last round.”
Qualifying: 1. G. Lavilla (Ducati) 1:31.458; 2. L. Haslam (Ducati) 1:31.662; 3. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 1:32.050; 4. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 1:32.117; 5. G. Richards (Kawasaki) 1:32.290; 6. J. Haydon (Suzuki) 1:32.342; 7. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) 1:32.612; 8. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) 1:32.804; 9. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) 1:32.903; 10. D. Hobbs (Yamaha) 1:32.911