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Bennetts BSB: Lavilla takes initiative in title chase

Bennetts BSB: Lavilla takes initiative in title chase

Bennetts BSB: Lavilla takes initiative in title chase

Gregorio Lavilla took the initiative in the chase for the Bennetts British Superbike crown with a double success in the penultimate round at Doningon Park, opening up a 13 point advantage over Ryuichi Kiyonari who had to settle for a second and a third at the Leicestershire circuit.

The 30 year old Spanish rider proved the dominant force throughout the meeting. Having shattered the lap record to claim pole position, the Airwaves Ducati rider produced a brilliant front-running performance to take the first race by a little over two seconds.

Kiyonari trailed him home in that race, having recovered from an early clash with Leon Haslam that left him back in fourth place on the opening lap. He had moved up to second by the third lap and then turned up the heat even more by posting a new lap record only for Lavilla to respond with an even faster lap.

"I concentrated hard to keep my bike smooth," explained Lavilla, who held on well at one point as his bike went badly off line. "It was a very important win for me psychologically – it was hard race, the lap times were very close."

Kiyonari reflected on his start: "Not good, but then I concentrated on Lavilla, watching and waiting for him, pressing hard, but then made small mistake running off line." The single point advantage the Japanese rider had grabbed with a winning double in the previous round at Oulton Park has now turned into a deficit of four points.

In the second race. Kiyonari made a terrific start, powering his HM Plant Honda into the lead, but his team-mate Michael Rutter - sixth in the opening race and knowing he needed maximum points to keep his fading title hopes alive - moved ahead at the Esses on the second lap.

Lavilla, who had started slowly, running fifth, was by now on the charge, overtaking Rutter on the sixth lap and then forging clear. He completed his first winning double of the campaign by some four seconds from team-mate Haslam, with Kiyonari taking third ahead of Rutter.

"Incredible – a really good weekend for me with two victories, beating Kiyonari – the races were very good, especially the second when the conditions were very difficult, and now I look forward to Brands Hatch where I will try to win the title," smiled Lavilla, who has opened up a 416-403 advantage over a disconsolate Kiyonari. "I tried very hard, made little mistake, now have to work hard to catch him," added the Japanese star.

Rutter, sixth and fourth, will have to settle for third place in the overall rankings for the second time in three years, with Haslam, third and second, just adrift of him. Glen Richards, riding the Hawk Kawasaki, having taken a fourth in the opener was looking good for a podium finish in the second 20 lapper but was one of several riders who were caught out by the damp at the Old Hairpin, defending champion John Reynolds also among them.

MotoGP, 2005

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