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Bennetts BSB: Lavilla poised to win title

Bennetts BSB: Lavilla poised to win title

Bennetts BSB: Lavilla poised to win title

Gregorio Lavilla powers into the double race finale of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday 9 October in a strong position to clinch the crown. The Spanish rider opened up a 13 point advantage over Ryuichi Kiyonari after enjoying a dominant double victory in the last round at Donington Park.

The two riders will now fight it out for the title over the two 20-lap races of the demanding Kent Grand Prix circuit with Lavilla knowing that he can afford to ride tactically to rack up sufficient points to take the crown, while Kiyonari will have to go all out for a pair of victories and hope that his rival finishes outside the top two.

Riding the Airwaves Ducati, Lavilla has run into a rich vein of form at exactly the right time. The Spaniard, who began the season without a regular ride, started off deputising for the team's then injured rider James Haydon, but, having made the spot his own with strong performances in the opening two rounds, is now handsomely repaying the faith shown in him.

Perhaps the decisive action in this year's championship came in the penultimate round. Having shattered the lap record to claim pole position, Lavilla had the speed and style to avenge a split second defeat by Kiyonari in the previous Oulton Park round by comfortably beating him twice at Donington. Those victories overturned the 22-year-old Japanese rider's slender lead in the title stakes and have left him playing catch-up.

It was the first time that Lavilla had won both races in a day and leaves him in a commanding position. "For sure now I will be trying really hard to ensure that I win the title" smiled the man from Tarragona who is poised to give the GSE Team a third title - Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson have also won them the British crown.

Lavilla knows that nothing can be taken for granted in this series - which was given a top rating for entertainment in a recent Daily Telegraph report on top sporting events - and he will be maintaining his hard work ethos as he goes into the final stages, with title rival Kiyonari equally determined.

The HM Plant Honda rider has won a dozen times this season, but a couple of tumbles have proved costly with the second and third place finishes last time out compounding his problems. The pressure is now very much on the Japanese youngster, he must go all out for victories knowing nothing less will suffice, but even then has to hope that Lavilla is beaten further back down the field if he is to overcome the 13 point deficit which currently separates the two.

There will be no help forthcoming from his Honda team-mate Michael Rutter who is destined to finish third in the championship for the second time in three years. He saw his hopes of taking the title for the first time slip out of his grasp with three falls in as many rounds earlier in the season which left him with painful arm and shoulder injuries.

Rutter is keen to sign off a disappointing campaign on a winning note, while in the Airwaves Ducati garage, Leon Haslam is also hoping to end his season on a high.

Around them, there is certain to be determined challenges from all over the field as riders and teams begin to consider options for next season. John Reynolds, who will hand over the number one plates at the final round is determined to give Rizla Suzuki a victory, as is Haydon, while in the Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha team rider Sean Emmett also needs a strong finish. Tommy Hill, meanwhile, will be chasing his second triumph of the season. Scott Smart is keen to impress aboard the Vivaldi Kawasaki, while both Hawk Kawasaki riders Glen Richards and Dean Thomas are overdue success. Aiming to embarrass them all is British Superbike Cup winner James Buckingham who is hungry for more successes in his pursuit of a factory ride for next season.

MotoGP, 2005

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