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Bennetts BSB: Lavilla takes title at Brands Hatch

Bennetts BSB: Lavilla takes title at Brands Hatch

Bennetts BSB: Lavilla takes title at Brands Hatch

Gregorio Lavilla sealed the Bennetts British Superbike crown with a victory and then a second place behind Airwaves Ducati team-mate Leon Haslam in the final round at Brands Hatch.

The Spanish rider had started the campaign without a contract, deputising for the team's injured rider James Haydon in the opening two rounds but, after a string of fine displays, earned the ride for the rest of the season.

Lavilla matured and his challenge to the dominant HM Plant Honda developed, and then intensified in the second half of the season in which he enjoyed a brilliant run of six victories and five second places in 11 outings.

Haydon, riding for Rizla Suzuki, had started from pole but was beaten away from the line by the determined Haslam who led for four laps before Lavilla charged through at Druids to dictate terms and take victory by a third of a second.

Ryuichi Kiyonari, Lavilla's only rival for the crown, was back in fourth place, adrift of Haydon, and that meant Lavilla needed only a single point from the second race of the day to secure his first major crown.

Haslam won the second race, with Lavilla shattering the outright lap record as he finished in second place to take the champion's trophy.

"Fantastic – it is a great feeling but I did not expect to be standing here at the start of the season. My thanks go to the team. My bike has been consistently good. After the summer break we raced on circuits I knew and started winning regularly, taking points back from the Hondas."

"I think you say Mission Accomplished – it has been a great year and we have finished it well," smiled the 30-year-old from Tarragona. Kiyonari, was again fourth in the second race, this time finishing adrift of Steve Plater riding the Hydrex Honda.

The GSE team, competing under the Airwaves banner, have confirmed that they will be contesting the British Championship in 2006 and have already secured Haslam to ride for them. "I can hardly wait for the start of the season – I can't thank the team enough and to have two 1-2 finishes in each of the final two races is just brilliant."

Haslam finished the season in fourth place in the championship behind Michael Rutter, sixth and eighth at Brands, who has learned that he will not have his contract with the HM Plant Honda team renewed next season. Kiyonari, who finished as runner-up to Lavilla (461-429), will, however, be back with the Louth-based team next year.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005

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