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Leader of the pack

Author: HM Plant Honda Racing
Posted on: Thursday, Aug 11 2005

Rutter has demonstrated an incredible consistency throughout the season so far, finishing all 16 races and grasping three race wins and nine other podium finishes. He has held on to the top spot in the standings since round three and currently has a 45-point advantage over his nearest rival and team-mate.

However, things havenít always gone smoothly for the Midlander. At the season opener at Brands Hatch, the competition was understandably rife, and Rutter was left to battle it out for his eventual fourth place finish. With his young HM Plant Honda Racing team-mate taking the first victory, it was not the start he had envisaged for the 2005 season. However, a marked improvement in his performance saw him achieved second place in the second race.

At the second round at Thruxton, Rutter looked at ease with the HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. Showing some of the same form that secured him the runner-up spot last year, he claimed second and third positions bringing his championship points tally to 69.

Rutterís local circuit Mallory Park in Leicestershire played host to the next instalment of the series, and determined not to disappoint his home fans, the 32-year-old campaigner achieved superb victories in both races. Following his team-mateís unlucky crash, the Kirkby Mallory rider picked up maximum championship points for HM Plant Honda Racing, and the series lead.

Rutter appeared to be unstoppable after a victory and another podium place at Oulton Park, but his luck changed in Ireland. Despite a second place finish in race one at Mondello Park, he had to work hard during the second leg and could only manage fifth place. Although still leading the standings, Rutter had his points advantage reduced and Ducatiís Gregorio Lavilla was in hot pursuit.

However, as well as his superb victory in the first Superbike race at the North West 200 aboard the Factory Fireblade, Rutter also went on to secure further podium finishes at Croft and Knockhill in order to maintain his lead. More recently, despite breaking his collarbone during qualifying, the popular Midlander also finished third and fifth at Snetterton.

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