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Kiyonari claims first BSB pole

Kiyonari claims first  BSB pole

Kiyonari claims first BSB pole

Ryuichi Kiyonari saved his best qualifying performance for the final round of the THINK! British Superbike Championship, taking pole start for the races at Donington Park with a time well inside the two year old lap record.

Whilst his compatriot Makaoto Tamada set pole for the Camel Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi, the 21 year old Japanese rider powered his HM Plant Honda around the 2.5 mile Leicestershire Grand Prix circuit in a best time of 1m 31.952s, some 0.868secs inside the record.

"I am very happy with my first pole – I rode this circuit last year in MotoGP and we tested the Fireblade here earlier this season. This has made a big difference to my qualifying performance as I do not have the same experience at other tracks.

"In the races, I am going to push very hard as I hope to enjoy my first victories in this championship," smiled Kiyonari, whose team-mate Michael Rutter was relegated to third place on the leaderboard by a late burst of speed from MonsterMob Ducati rider Sean Emmett.

Rutter goes into the races knowing that he has to hit double top of denying John Reynolds a third title, but that it a tall order as the Rizla Suzuki rider needs to score only eight points to regain the ‘number one' plates.

"I am going out there to win – that is all I can do," said Rutter, sentiments echoed by Reynolds. "That is the way to earn a title." The rider from nearby Nottingham was fifth fastest, having qualified marginally slower than Glen Richards. He starts the races from the second row of the grid, as does his team-mate Yukio Kagayama, eighth fastest, despite twice crashing at Coppice Corner during the final session.

James Haydon, eleventh fastest, also took a bruising during an eventful session when he crashed spectacularly on the fastest part of the circuit as his Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha swerved wildly out of line on fluids dropped a split second earlier by another machine.

James Ellison, already assured of the Superbike Cup, was the fastest qualifier in the category for Independent teams and riders, recording a time a quarter of a second faster than that of local rider Jon Kirkham

MotoGP, 2004

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