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Kiyo finishes second in title clash

Author: HM Plant Honda Press Release
Posted on: Monday, Oct 10 2005

With 13 points separating Lavilla and Kiyonari at the beginning of the day, the pressure was on both riders to take maximum points in race one. Lavilla and his team-mate Leon Haslam made a break at the front of the field and led throughout the 20-lap race. Haslam made the early running and broke the lap record, but let the newly-crowned champion through at Druids on lap five to take a victorious 25 points.

Rutter and Kiyonari started from the third row of the grid and were unable to make up enough ground on their title rivals over race distance. Eighth at the end of the first lap, the 23-year-old Japanese star overtook his more experienced team-mate on lap four.

Kiyo then caught the battle between James Haydon and Dean Thomas for the last podium placing. Having passed Thomas on the 12th lap, the HM Plant Honda rider tracked down Haydon but was unable to make a decisive move before the chequered flag. Rutter maintained station and took the second factory Fireblade home in sixth position.

The mathematics before race two were simple. All Lavilla had to do was take one solitary point to claim the British Superbike crown at his first attempt. He did so in style by breaking the lap record and following Haslam home in a safe second place.

Kiyonari and Rutter each moved forward by one position on the grid after their team-mate Karl Harris was declared a non-starter as a result of injuries sustained in a first race crash. However, they were unable to take advantage of this as they joined Dean Thomas, Glen Richards, Gary Mason and Steve Plater in a close race for the final podium position.

Ninth at the end of the first lap, HM Plant Honda Racing’s British Superbike runner-up made a customary charge through the field to claim a hard-fought fourth position. Rutter was unable to capitalise on his early fifth position and was relegated to the rear of the group in eighth.

An analysis of the 2005 Bennetts British Superbike Championship will reveal Kiyonari’s crash at the third round at Mallory Park as the decisive moment in terms of the outcome of the title. Having won the first four races of the season, the HM Plant Honda Racing rider was forced to miss the next two events due to injury.

A further eight victories took Kiyo’s winning tally to 12 – five more than Lavilla. When added to Rutter’s three race wins, this ensures that HM Plant Honda Racing will go down in history as the most successful team of the 2005 season. These impressive results enabled Honda to clinch the manufacturers’ award by 25 points from Ducati.

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “I have had a hard weekend here at Brands Hatch. I won the first two races of the season over the Indy circuit but the Grand Prix track presented me with a new challenge.

“This was not a good event for me last year, but I have made a big improvement. The HM Plant Honda Racing CBR1000RR and Michelin tyres are an improved package – and the rider has also made a slight improvement! Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to win the championship.

“Today’s races were very similar for me in terms of starts, lap times and final positions. They were tough events and I tried very hard to finish on the podium. Next season, I must try even harder.

“Overall, I would like to thank my chief technician Adrian Gorst and the rest of the HM Plant Honda Racing team. I am obviously disappointed with the final result of the championship, but I know that I didn’t lose the title on today’s performance only.

“I have enjoyed my second year in the British Superbike Championship and I hope to return next year. I have happy memories of my 12 wins, but the races that I failed to start – and finish – made all the difference in the end. I have learnt a lot in 2005 and I hope that it will make me even stronger in the future.”

Michael Rutter: “We’ve made good progress with the HM Plant Honda Racing CBR1000RR and I’d like to thank the team for all their help – not just this weekend, but over the past two seasons as well. I wasn’t at my best today and am still not 100 per cent fit after my big crash at Snetterton in July. They were long, demanding races and I felt the pace towards the end of each leg.

“This season didn’t turn out as Kiyo or I had planned, but at least we have the consolation of being the best team overall. I had a 45-point advantage going into the ninth round at Silverstone, but the second half of the season was more difficult than I could ever have imagined.”

Race one: 1. G. Lavilla (Ducati) 29:07.520; 2. L. Haslam (Ducati) +0.312; 3. J. Haydon (Suzuki) +7.390; 4. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) +7.498; 5. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +7.795; 6. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +11.848; 7. G. Mason (Honda) +20.394; 8. S. Plater (Honda) +23.404; 9. J. McWilliams (Honda) +30.839; 10. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) +35.126

Fastest lap: 1:26.631 – Haslam (lap 10 – new lap record)

Race two: 1. L. Haslam (Ducati) 28:58.591; 2. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +1.980; 3. S. Plater (Honda) +18.938; 4. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) +19.291; 5. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +19.539; 6. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +20.231; 7. G. Mason (Honda) +20.385; 8. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +26.386; 9. T. Hill (Yamaha) +34.100; 10. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) +39.445

Fastest lap: 1:25.728 – Lavilla (lap 4 – new lap record)

Championship points: 1. Lavilla – 461; 2. Kiyonari – 429; 3. Rutter – 371; 4. Haslam – 350; 5. Richards – 241; 6. Thomas – 198; 7. Harris – 195; 8. Mason – 174; 9. Reynolds – 139; 10. Laverty – 129

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