With so little time to get to know the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 it was always going to be a tall order to steal a podium finish, but Rutter's two gritty rides took him close.
Before the start of the first race, and from the front row of the grid, the team was able to send best wishes via live television to their rider Sylvain Guintoli, who's still recovering in hospital after the incident at Donington Park last week where he was injured.
When the start came, Rutter made a fair fist of it, holding sixth place in the early stages. He then lost a couple of places as he allowed the bike to settle in, but from mid-race onwards Rutter equalled the pace of the lead riders, ending the race on a high note as he dramatically out-braked Honda's Glen Richards at the final chicane on the last lap to claim fifth.
The second race was no less intense and in fact followed a very similar pattern: A better start saw him fifth on the first lap but again losing places in the scrum of the early stages. Again Rutter rallied and fought back, with lap times that were typically first-or-second fastest.
[i]"What a wonderful bike! As a first experience of the GSX-R I'm really impressed. Looking at the day, I could definitely have done with more time to refine the set-up: This morning's set-up in warm-up didn't work quite as we hoped so we rode with what we had yesterday, which wasn't quite perfect. I could have ridden better too - smoother would have been faster - but I have to be happy for I know I can improve. It's been a great weekend in so many ways."[/i]
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
[i]"We've had a very good weekend. We came here only three days after the disaster of Donington and started with a new rider who'd never ridden the bike before. There was so little time to sort bike and rider that in all fairness Michael did a very good job.
"We can't grumble with getting two fifths, and the way Michael was matching the lap times of the leaders through the later stages of the races also showed he can be very quick. It's just a matter of getting more time on the bike; that's what cost him in the early stages of each race, but you can see that with time in the saddle he'd build his confidence and belief."[/i]
ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli
Round Four, Thruxton:
[b]Race one result: [/b]
1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha)
2. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +1.296s
3. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +7.236s
4. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +10.670s
5. Michael Rutter (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +11.304s
6. Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) +11.515s
7. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +15.872s
8. John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +19.707s
9. Gary Mason (Quay Garage Honda) +23.199s
10. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +27.292s
[b]Race two result: [/b]
1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha)
2. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +3.505s
3. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +3.640s
4. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +5.963s
5. Michael Rutter (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +6.632s
6. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +8.089s
7. Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) +11.365s
8. Ian Lowry (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +11.648s
9. Karl Harris (Hydrex Honda) +14.344s
10. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +17.324s
Championship points (after four rounds): 1 Leon Camier 167, 2 James Ellison 129, 3 Stuart Easton 107, 4 Glen Richards 95, 5 Sylvain Guintoli, Worx Crescent Suzuki 77, 6 Karl Harris 72, 7 Simon Andrews 58, 8 Gary Mason 57, 9 Chris Walker 49, 10 Ian Lowry 48, 16 Michael Rutter, Works Crescent Suzuki 22.