By Adam Arnold
Rain specialist Rutter took race one on the British Superbike championship at Silverstone with his HM Honda team mate, Kiyonari in second. Suzuki duo John Reynolds and Yukio Kagayama on the Rizla Suzukis took third and fourth place respectively. Pole setter Emmett on the highest placed Ducati came home in fifth place.
The first race of the day at the Northants track saw most riders choosing full wets as the English weather lived up to expectations. Conditions were wet but with no more rain coming down there was a chance the track would dry. Marty Nutt, a Suzuki riding, cup championship contender, chose to run with an intermediate rear tyre gambling that the track would dry.
After a clean start new boy Ryuichi Kiyonari led into the first corner with Emmett, Rutter then Kagayama close behind. During the first lap Emmett managed to pass Kiyonari to take the lead. Kiyonari was also passed by team-mate Rutter before they completed the first lap. Behind third placed Kiyonari were the two Suzukis of Kagayama and Reyonlds followed by Dean Thomas on the Sendo Ducati. The two Kawasakis of Richards and Smart completed the first lap in seventh and eighth ahead of the Virgin Yamahas of Plater and Mason. Nick Medd was the only casualty of the first corner mayhem in these tricky conditions, fortunately he was unhurt.
On the third lap Michael Rutter found a gap around Sean Emmett to take first place and showed his domination in these conditions by stretching a small lead before the lap was out.
By lap ten Rutter had pulled out nearly a five second lead over second place Kiyonari, with the struggling Emmett being displaced into fourth by a storming Reynolds. Michael Nutt, a British Cup contender, had chosen to ride with an intermediate rear tyre and as the track dried his gamble was starting to pay off as he moved into tenth on the track.
Emmett continued to slip back as on lap twelve Kagayama took him in a clean manoeuvre as he took forth to join his team mate, in a Rizla Suzuki third and fourth. Rutter continued to stretch a lead with his Honda team-mate Kiyonari tagging along.
Lap 14 saw a challenge from Kiyonari on Rutter as he pulled back a second of Rutter's lead. Rutter responded on the next lap with a fastest race lap. At this stage Reynolds seemed to be struggling and was circulating nearly two seconds slower than Kiyonari, but he had enough of a lead over fourth place Kagayama for this not to matter.
On the 17th lap of the race, tenth placed British cup contender Nutt managed to pass ninth place Richards and on the very next corner he made a pass on both seventh and eighth place of Thomas and Smart to take sixth. Thomas tried to come back at Nutt but was unable to make a dent on the privateer who was running the better-suited intermediate rear tyre. His position, however, does not affect the British Superbike field as he is competing in the British Cup Championship.
Kiyonari made another challenge on Rutter's five second lead with two laps to go but again Rutter stamped his authority down and set another fastest race lap in response.
The last lap saw the leading Kawasaki of Smart take Thomson in a last ditch attempt to gain some more valuable points with a final position of seventh.
Not a good race for the Virgin Yamaha team as it saw Michael Rutter lose the front tyre on the second lap and the retirement of Gary Mason due to mechanical failure on lap five. Both will be out in the next race.
1. Michael Rutter
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari
3. John Reynolds
4. Yukio Kagayama
5. Sean Emmett
6. Scott Smart
7. Dean Thomas
Sendo Ducati Dienza
8. Glen Richards
9. Craig Coxhell
Team Vitrans Honda
10. Stuart Easton
11. Tommy Hill
12. Kieran Clarke
Colin Appleyard Yamaha