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Bennetts British Superbikes: Lavilla takes title lead

Bennetts British Superbikes: Lavilla takes title lead

Bennetts British Superbikes: Lavilla takes title lead

Gregorio Lavilla moved two points clear in the scrap for the Bennetts British Superbike crown as he enjoyed a pair of second places in a dramatic tenth round at Cadwell Park.

The race victories at the Lincolnshire circuit went to Tommy Hill and Leon Haslam as the championship stakes were thrown wide open when Michael Rutter tumbled out of the second race, losing series lead in the process.

Hill won the opener, but could hardly believe his good fortune – he was running third with Airwaves Ducati team-mates Lavilla and Haslam dictating terms ahead of him.

Lavilla had taken the lead on the penultimate lap, but then Haslam made a daring bid to regain the advantage at Park Corner next time around which caused both riders to run wide onto the grass.

"I had nowhere to go. My bike was on the outside when Leon pushed through and across me – we both went straight on, across the grass and were very lucky not to crash," said Lavilla. "It was a racing incident of course, I passed him cleanly, and then he came back at me, but that is racing and he is my team-mate. I was lucky to finish second."

Hill had a grandstand view of the incident. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing – I sitting there in third place and then all of that happened in front of me – they always say you need luck in racing if you are going to win, but I am still shocked.

"All of the way through, the bike felt smooth and I felt good, but really, this has left me speechless," smiled a delighted Hill as he enjoyed his first-ever victory in the country's elite series and gave the Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha team their first success in some 14 months.

Lavilla battled back to claim second, Glen Richards took third place for Hawk Kawasaki, ahead of Karl Harris, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Haslam with Rutter, complaining of a lack of rear grip back aboard his HM Plant Honda, in eighth.

Haslam and Lavilla renewed rivalries in the second race having been told by their team-manager to 'respect one another'.

The 22-year-old Derbyshire rider, starting from pole, led throughout the second race, holding off first Rutter, then Lavilla who moved into second place on the sixth lap and finished less than half a second down. "I could have tried to pass, but it would have been risky," Lavilla reflected.

Rutter crashed out of fourth place at Chris Curve as his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari overcame Hill to grab third place. Harris held off the Rizla Suzuki of James Haydon, with Dean Thomas just ahead of reigning champion John Reynolds.

Lavilla now leads the championship by two points from Rutter (326-324), with Kiyonari a further seven points back as the action switches to Oulton Park on Sunday 11 September.

MotoGP, 2005

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