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Kiyo closes the gap

Author: HM Plant Honda Press Release
Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 30 2005

Several backmarkers crashed out at Coppice at the start of an enthralling first leg encounter. This necessitated the intervention of the safety car for three laps, with Rutter and Kiyonari in sixth and ninth positions respectively.

Rutter was immediately playing catch-up on the leading group of five riders, but he was unable to make an impression over race distance. The 32-year-old Midlander was down to seventh on lap eight and lost another place on the final run to the chequered flag.

Meanwhile, Kiyonari was a man on a mission. The 22-year-old Japanese star charged through the field from his third row starting position of 11th. He was up to eighth on lap seven and made up two further positions following another hot lap on the HM Plant Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade.

A last lap incident at Park corner involving Gregorio Lavilla and Leon Haslam handed a first race win to Tommy Hill as the Ducati team-mates ran on to the grass and rejoined the track. This gave their pursuers an opportunity to take advantage of their misfortune.

Kiyonari’s charge towards the podium places had included an incredible lap of 1:28.409 – 0.7 seconds inside Yukio Kagayama’s lap record for the 2.18-mile Lincolnshire circuit. This had left him fifth and within range of Glen Richards on the final lap. However, a mistake on the Mountain section negated his challenge for a podium place and he had to settle for fifth.

The winner of the prestigious 2005 Suzuka 8-hour endurance race was even more impressive in race two. Kiyonari’s now customary Cadwell charge started from a lowly 12th position at the end of the first lap. He improved by one place on each of the next three laps, before overtaking James Haydon on lap eight. He then bettered this feat by taking a further four positions – again on consecutive laps.

The incredible rise to fourth position meant that he only had Hill standing between him and his 13th podium finish of the season. He accomplished this with distinction –with three laps remaining – to take 16 invaluable points.

Rutter was also fast off the mark – third into the first corner and second after a confident first lap. However, a hard-charging Lavilla made an aggressive move on the HM Plant Honda rider at the chicane, forcing him off line and leaving him vulnerable to a subsequent overtaking manoeuvre by Tommy Hill.

The long-time leader of the 2005 British Superbike Championship lost his advantage at the top of the table after a crash on lap 12. Under pressure from the chasing pack, Rutter parted company with the HRC-prepared CBR1000RR Fireblade at Chris Curve while running in fourth position. He now lies second in the championship chase, two points down on Lavilla and seven ahead of his HM Plant Honda Racing team-mate Kiyonari with three rounds (six races) remaining in the 2005 season.

Michael Rutter: “It hasn’t been a good day for me for the second consecutive event. If anything, Cadwell has been more disappointing because I was hoping for two solid points-scoring rides to maintain my lead in the championship.

“My plan was to concentrate on each race rather than worrying about the title, but it obviously didn’t work out for me. While it doesn’t look good if you take today’s results in isolation, I’m only two points behind Lavilla and so it’s all down to the last three rounds of the championship.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “We made a bit of a breakthrough after this morning’s warm-up and that gave me extra confidence for the races. My third row starting position meant that it was impossible for me to catch the leaders, but I was determined to fight hard in front of HM Plant Honda Racing’s home fans.

“The CBR1000RR Fireblade was very fast in a straight line. The drive out of the corners enabled me to make good progress past many riders. It has been a difficult weekend for the team, but thankfully I managed to get on the podium. Now I must continue to work hard and hopefully close the gap further on Lavilla and Michael.”

Race one: 1. T. Hill (Yamaha) 27:41.871; 2. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +4.180; 3. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +4.607; 4. K. Harris ( +5.045; 5. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) +5.311; 6. L. Haslam (Ducati) +7.498; 7. J. Haydon (Suzuki) +13.062; 8. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +13.765; 9. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +13.974; 10. J. Buckingham (Suzuki) +14.625

Fastest lap: 1:28.409 – Kiyonari (lap 17, new lap record)

Race two: 1. L. Haslam (Ducati) 26:41.146; 2. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +0.444; 3. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) +9.839; 4. T. Hill (Yamaha) +10.751; 5. K. Harris ( +15.894; 6. J. Haydon (Suzuki) +16.284; 7. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +16.460; 8. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) +24.476; 9. S. Plater (Honda) +28.365; 10. G. Mason (Honda) +30.347; DNF – M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing)

Fastest lap: 1:28.098 – Lavilla (lap 7, new lap record)

Championship points: 1. Lavilla – 326; 2. Rutter – 324; 3. Kiyonari – 317; 4. Haslam – 243; 5. Richards – 199; 6. Harris – 169; 7. Thomas – 145; 8. Mason – 127; 9. Laverty – 113; 10. Reynolds – 96

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