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HM Plant Hondas down but not out

Author: HM Plant Honda Press Release
Posted on: Sunday, Sep 25 2005

A warm and sunny race one saw Ryuichi Kiyonari recover from an indifferent start to move through the field from sixth position to second at the chequered flag. The Japanese rider set the fastest lap of the event on three separate occasions and closed on his title rival before a mistake at Coppice forced him to concede the victory – and the lap record – to Lavilla.

By contrast, his HM Plant Honda Racing team-mate Rutter had a strong start into third position from the same place on the grid. However, the Midlander struggled for grip over race distance aboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade. This enabled other competitors to pass the 32-year-old and push him back to sixth position, where he remained until he crossed the line.

A blistering start to race two by the HRC-supported machines on a damp but drying track looked like bringing a change in fortune for the duo. It was the Japanese rider who took the holeshot from fourth place on the grid and team-mate Rutter slotted in behind him into second position.

However, lap two of 20 brought drama for 23-year-old Kiyonari when Rutter passed him for the lead at Melbourne hairpin. Lavilla, team-mate Leon Haslam and Glen Richards also took advantage of the opportunity, relegating Kiyonari to fifth place.

By lap five, the Ducatis of Lavilla and Haslam were also ready to make a move on Rutter, passing him at Redgate corner. Four laps later the HM Plant Honda Racing campaigner ran wide at the Melbourne hairpin allowing Richards to make a move on him, before the Kawasaki rider crashed out on lap 15.

That incident elevated Kiyonari – who had overtaken his team-mate one lap earlier – to a podium position. He remained in third place for the final result with Rutter finishing behind him in fourth. This means that Kiyonari’s one point advantage over Lavilla has been converted into a 13-point deficit as the championship heads to the final round at Brands Hatch in a fortnight. But with 50 points still up for grabs, the HM Plant Honda Racing rider is certainly not out of contention for the title.

Michael Rutter: “It hasn’t been a great weekend for HM Plant Honda Racing. Donington Park was one of our best rounds last year, so we were hoping for better results here today. I found it difficult to get the right set-up on the CBR1000RR Fireblade and Lavilla was really strong. I had to score as many points as possible to help me secure third place in the series – and I’ve nearly made it.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “We have had very difficult conditions today with sunshine and then rain – and then sunshine again. I tried my best, but I made a few mistakes and was unable to win either race. I hope that I can do better for HM Plant Honda Racing at Brands Hatch and maybe still win the championship.”

Race one: 1. G. Lavilla (Ducati) 30:49.746; 2. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) +2.054; 3. L. Haslam (Ducati) +11.856; 4. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +14.456; 5. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) +19.583; 6. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +28.931; 7. S. Smart (Kawasaki) +38.386; 8. T. Hill (Yamaha) +38.831; 9. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +38.921; 10. G. Mason (Honda) +39.184

Fastest lap: 1:31.718 – Lavilla (lap 16, new lap record)

Race two: 1. G. Lavilla (Ducati) 31:26.230; 2. L. Haslam (Ducati) +4.022; 3. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) +5.970; 4. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +11.612; 5. J. Haydon (Suzuki) +14.758; 6. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +17.401; 7. G. Mason (Honda) +29.427; 8. S. Smart (Kawasaki) +29.974; 9. K. Harris ( +51.731; 10. M. Laverty (Honda) +54.798

Fastest lap: 1:32.463 – Lavilla (lap 13)

Championship points: 1. Lavilla – 416; 2. Kiyonari – 403; 3. Rutter – 353; 4. Haslam – 305; 5. Richards – 231; 6. Harris – 195; 7. Thomas – 176; 8. Mason – 156; 9. Reynolds – 139; 10. Laverty – 119

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