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Kiyonari at the double to take charge of title race

Kiyonari at the double to take charge of title race

Kiyonari at the double to take charge of title race

Ryuichi Kiyonari maintained his domination of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship as he took a winning double in the second round at Thruxton.

The 22 year old Japanese rider has now won all four races this season with confident front-running performances.

His latest successes came despite the discomfort of a painful left ankle, the aftermath of a 140 miles an hour crash during qualifying, but it hardly slowed the HM Plant Honda rider.

By the fourth lap of the opener at the Hampshire circuit he had moved from fifth to have snatched the lead from Sean Emmett aboard the Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha and begin pulling clear of he pack.

Michael Rutter, aboard the second HM Plant Honda upped the power in his vain pursuit, closing in before having a scary moment on the fastest part of the course: "the front end tucked in, but I managed to hold on, and at that point decided to settle for what I had."

Kiyonari took the victory by almost ten seconds but next time out had more of a fight, as Gregorio Lavilla, the 30 year old Spanish rider who is deputising aboard the Airwaves Ducati for the James Haydon, produced a brilliant slip-streaming ride that took him past Rutter and into a high speed duel for the lead.

Lavilla closed within half a second of Kiyonari, but the Honda rider held on to extend to six his unbeaten run which stretches back to the final round of last year.

"The races here were hard, my foot not a problem really on the bike, but very painful when I walk," smiled Kiyonari while Rutter reflected: "he is bang on every lap – you cannot afford to give him anything or he is away from you."

Jeremy McWilliams, the 41 year old Ulsterman who is back in domestic racing after a dozen years in grand prix, again had a tough time – he tumbled out of the opening race on the first lap at the chicane, but brought his Stobart Honda home in ninth place next time.

And, John Reynolds, the defending champion, continuing his damage limitation exercise as he rides his Rizla Suzuki with a broken right leg, had little to show for his efforts – he finished fourteenth in the opener but pulled out of the second at half distance.

The scrap for his title is now centring on Kiyonari. He leads the way with 100 points, with Lavilla on 72 and Rutter 69.

Victories in the British Superbike Cup went to James Buckingham and Steve Brogan, while Leon Camier took the victory in the Metabo British Supersport race, ahead of Stuart Easton and the championship leader Jay Vincent.

Adrian Coates won the National Superstock race, ahead of Lee Jackson, but third place for Andy Tinsley was enough to keep him ahead in the title stakes. Christian Elkin underlined his determination to retain the British 125cc crown with a hard earned victory over Kev Coghlan while Mark Pollock moved ahead in the Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup with victory over Adam Jenkinson.

MotoGP, 2005

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