28 March 2005
Kiyonari takes race one flyer.
HM Plant Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari took a dominant win in the first round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Kiyonari pulled a massive 10.242 secs lead over hard charging Spaniard Gregorio Lavilla on the Airwaves Ducati. Rounding out the top three was Glen Richards' Hawk Kawasaki.
Pole sitter Leon Haslam didn't even manage to complete one lap. He had a big slide at Graham Hill bend, landed back in the saddle but unfortunately his engine had died, meaning a very down hearted Haslam had to retire, without even completing one lap.
Steve Plater on the Sendo Kawasaki, retired on lap four with technical problems. Crash.net had spoken to him after qualifying on Sunday and he was eager to get back on the podium "It's a good package, but the level of British Superbikes has raised again in 2005 and you know testing is paramount. As the year goes on we are going to get stronger and stronger. I'm just desperate to stand on the podium," he explained.
An early exit from the race was made by Rizla Suzuki rider Scott Smart. He crashed out on lap six at Graham Hill Bend but he was able to walk away. Team-mate John Reynolds, riding with a broken leg, managed to go race distance and finish in ninth position. The points scored could make a big difference to his championship quest.
Back at the sharp end Kiyonari was pulling away from Richards and Rutter, whilst in fourth spot, Lavilla was reeling in Rutter. Gary Mason on the Stobart Honda retired on lap ten, he had been very up beat and determined after qualifying so it was unfortunate that a concern with the bike caused him not to go race distance.
By lap eleven, Kiyonari was 5.133 secs ahead of Richards but it was the battle for third place that was really hotting up. Lavilla made a move on Rutter through Clearways however Rutter fought back along the start finish straight, but Lavilla wasn't letting him go. Lavilla dived under Rutter at Paddock Hill bend, and made the move stick. With Rutter out of the way, Lavilla started to chase down Richards. By lap fifteen, Lavilla had muscled his was into second place, having passed Richards on the start finish straight.
The combination of the HM Plant Honda and Ryuichi Kiyonari, continued to pull away. On lap twenty eight Kiyonari was 10.84 secs clear of his nearest rival.
Jeremy McWilliams on his Stobart Honda, finished in seventh. The former GP star, won't be happy with that result as he told Crash.net after qualifying "Gary and I have both come to the same conclusion, that is where we are with the bike and we need to find a little bit more. This is not what we intended. Even yesterday when I was fifth, I wasn't ecstatic about it. We need to be in the top four or five right about now to give ourselves half a chance at the championship."
Superbike rookie Karl Harris on his Honda UK machine came home in a creditable sixth position, behind Yamaha rider Sean Emmett. Tenth spot went to Tommy Hill, who was riding with a suspected broken wrist a gritty performance from the young Virgin Yamaha rider.
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari HM Plant Honda
2. Gregorio Lavilla Airwaves Ducati
3. Glen Richards Hawk Kawasaki
4. Michael Rutter HM Plant Honda
5. Sean Emmett Virgin Yamaha
6. Karl Harris Honda Racing UK
7. Jeremy McWilliams Stobart Honda
8. Dean Thomas Hawk Kawasaki
9. John Reynolds Rizla Suzuki
10. Tommy Hill Virgin Yamaha
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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