The first Superbike race of the season saw Kiyonari take the holeshot from Glen Richards with Rutter adopting a watching brief in third at the end of a hectic first lap. The Japanese star took the early initiative in the 30-lap race and powered his HM Plant Honda into a commanding position after breaking the lap record on the second and third laps. Maintaining a comfortable advantage for the majority of the season-opener, Kiyonari was in a class of his own.
Rutter meanwhile was embroiled in a tense battle for second place with Gregorio Lavilla and Richards. The 31-year-old Midlander lost out in the battle for the two remaining podium positions after the dicing trio encountered some backmarkers in the closing stages of the 30-lap Superbike opener.
Leg two opened in similar fashion to the first, with Kiyonari showing a clean pair of heels to what is generally considered to be the strongest British Superbike field in years. He set a hot pace with amazing consistency and pulled out a comfortable winning margin on the HRC-prepared factory Fireblade.
The second HM Plant Honda was also on a charge with Rutter determined to improve on his first race position. Third at the end of lap one, last season's British Superbike runner-up tracked Sean Emmett before making a successful passing manoeuvre on lap 15 at Paddock Hill Bend. He used the superior power and handling characteristics of his CBR1000RR Fireblade in the second half of the race to take 20 deserved points.
Michael Rutter: "Under the circumstances I was happy with how I performed in the first race. I had to work really hard with the HM Plant Honda to keep up with Lavilla and Richards. However, we knew that we could improve the set-up for race two and so it proved. There was nothing that I could do about Kiyo though. He was superb in both races today and I've got to work hard at Thruxton to close the points gap."
Ryuichi Kiyonari: "I am obviously very happy with how things have gone for me today. I felt that I had to get off the line quickly because I was worried about how fast the other riders are here at Brands Hatch. I was pleasantly surprised by how far in front I was in each race, because I actually find this circuit quite challenging. I would like to thank the HM Plant Honda Racing team for helping to find such a good race set-up which made all the difference to me. It's good to have made such a good start to the season and I hope that I can carry this level of performance on to Thruxton."
Superbike race one result: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 23:17.575 2. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +10.242; 3. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +10.432; 4. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +10.533; 5. S. Emmett (Yamaha) +14.168; 6. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +18.874; 7. J. McWilliams (Honda) +24.408; 8. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) +24.604; 9. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) +26.892; 10. T. Hill (Yamaha) +32.289
Fastest lap: 0:45.954 – R. Kiyonari (lap 3) new lap record
Superbike race two result: 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 23:16.796; 2. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) +5.041; 3. G. Lavilla (Ducati) +8.027; 4. L. Haslam (Ducati) +9.786; 5. S. Emmett (Yamaha) +14.181; 6. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +14.421; 7. G. Richards (Kawasaki) +16.612; 8. S. Smart (Suzuki) +24.002; 9. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) +24.439; 10. G. Mason (Honda) +24.506
Fastest lap: 0:46.093 – G. Lavilla (lap 14)
Championship points after one round: 1. Kiyonari - 50; 2. Lavilla – 36; 3. Rutter – 33; 4. Richards – 25; 5. Emmett – 22; 6. Harris – 20; 7. Reynolds – 14; 8=. Thomas, Haslam – 13; 10. Hill – 10