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Bennetts British Superbike: Kiyonari aims for third winning double

Bennetts British Superbike: Kiyonari aims for third winning double

Bennetts British Superbike: Kiyonari aims for third winning double

Ryuichi Kiyonari is the man to beat as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship powers into Mallory Park for this Sunday's double race third round - the 22-year-old Japanese is unbeaten so far and will take some stopping at the demanding Leicestershire circuit.

That is not lost on his HM Plant Honda team-mate Michael Rutter. He lives adjacent to the circuit and is keen to make local knowledge pay dividends as he plays catch-up in the title stakes.

"For sure Kiyo will take some beating - he is bang on every lap and riding very well,² admitted Rutter who goes into the races in third place in the overall standings. "These races, on my home circuit are very important. I need to start winning races and hoping for better things than last year here - Kiyo is getting a good lead in the points and if I am to take the title, I need to start pegging him back now."

Rutter is not the only rider intent on beating Kiynari whose winning spree began in the final round of last season - he has now taken six straight wins and is enjoying every moment. A key to his success is the high number of laps he puts in during every practice and qualifying session. "Many laps makes perfect, I like Mallory, but need to ride it again, more," he smiles.

The Japanese rider could also land himself a £30,000 Audi TT Quattro car as a bonus if he maintains his current form - that is the end of season Audi Performance Award on offer for consistency throughout every qualifying session and race.

Kiyonari has only come under serious threat in one race so far this season, and that was when Gregorio Lavilla ran him close in the opening round – the Spaniard has deputised for the injured James Haydon in the Airwaves Ducati team in each of the four races so far, taking two seconds and two thirds to be second overall in the standings.

The top three in the standings have dominated the podium finishing slots so far, with only Aussie Glen Richards breaking their stranglehold - he took a third place in the opening race and is keen for an action replay, or better, as the Hawk Kawasaki team for whom he rides has a close affinity with the circuit. Expect to see him and his team-mate Dean Thomas gunning for glory.

That will not be easy to achieve as Sean Emmett is riding well aboard the Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha and is well overdue a seasonal first taste of the winner's champagne - he has run consistently in the top five and is now poised to up the power and the pressure.

Keep an eye out also for Karl Harris, the former three times British Supersport Champion who is putting in some fine, hard charging rides aboard the Fireblade while Leon Haslam riding the second Airwaves Ducati has been close to podium finishes twice already.

That is something that the Rizla Suzuki duo of Scott Smart and defending champion John Reynolds are keen to aspire to - both enjoyed victories in the corresponding round last year, and both are keen for a repeat. Reynolds, the local favourite, is recovering fast from the right leg he broke in pre-season testing and should be more of a force in these races while Smart is just anxious to rack up the points.

Jeremy McWilliams is another keen to do just that. His return from the fast-lane of grand prix action has been problematic but he is working hard to get the Stobart Honda title bid back on track, starting with these races.

Around the two Bennetts British Superbike races expect to see some hot action in the Metabo British Supersport race with Leicestershire rider Jay Vincent defending a point lead over former champion Stuart Easton, while in the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Championship former champion Andy Tinsley, Adrian Coates, Howie Mainwaring and Lee Jackson are separated by just eight points.

Kev Coghlan, the highly talented young Scot narrowly missed out on a second victory in the British 125cc Championship last time out at Thruxton as reigning champion Christian Elkin took the glory.

Kenny Gilbertson will be aiming for a third consecutive victory to tighten his grip on the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Cup while Mark Pollock heads Ian Lowry in the Virgin Mobile Cup.

MotoGP, 2005

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