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Victories for Rutter and Reynolds in British Superbike opener

Victories for Rutter and Reynolds in British Superbike opener

Michael Rutter and John Reynolds, with a victory and a third place apiece, share the lead in the British Superbike Championship after the opening round at Silverstone. Rutter delighted the hierarchy of the Honda Racing corporation by first shattering the record at the Northamptonshire circuit to put the all-new Fireblade on pole for its racing debut, and then charging to victory in difficult conditions.

Light rain made the circuit difficult, but Rutter was always in control, taking the lead on the third lap from Sean Emmett and then dominating: ´it was horrible out there, it would have been so easy to go down. It was a case of keeping it smooth but there was no easing up because my team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari was just behind and I knew he would keep going, pushing hard all the way.´

Rutter admitted: ´I didn´t expect that result, but thought we would get a top three finish,´ while Kiyonari smiled ´I am very happy, but I want to beat Michael next time out.´

He did that, taking second place, with Rutter, dropping to third after a rare error with two laps to go. The Leicestershire rider had thrilled the 23,500 crowd with a hard, determined charge through the pack from ninth, after a dreadful start but did well to hang on as his bike swerved out of line at Woodcote chicane.

´I let in the clutch and the back wheel came round - I managed to hold on, and then get back ahead of Ryuichi, but there was no way of catching John. It was a pity. I must have the worst start ever to the race, it was just terrible, but had overcome that,´ Rutter reflected.

Reynolds, who led from the second lap, took his Rizla Suzuki to victory. ´It was hard work but I´m delighted with that result - I was happy in a way with third in the opening race, but really was disappointed to see the two Hondas in front of me.´

Pre-race favourite Sean Emmett had even more disappointment - he had to settle for fifth and fourth placings.

MotoGP, 2004

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