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Lavilla continues unstoppable in BSB

Lavilla continues unstoppable in BSB

Lavilla continues unstoppable in BSB

Gregorio Lavilla tightened his grip on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship with a winning fourth round double at Oulton Park but the Spaniard admitted these were the toughest races he has experienced so far in the defence of his crown.

The two races provided brilliant, fiercely competitive action for the massive Holiday Monday crowd at the Cheshire circuit as Lavilla held off first Shane Byrne and then Karl Harris to move into a 182-121 lead over his team-mate Leon Haslam who had to be content with third and seventh places.

The opening race saw Haslam, starting from pole, dictate the early terms, but Lavilla was on the charge, moving smoothly through from fourth place to be ahead at half distance, with Byrne in hot pursuit.

The former champion was riding in severe discomfort, having compounded the debilitating effects of gastro-enteritis with a bruising in a heavy tumble during qualifying, but he was riding his Rizla Suzuki to the full, and moved ahead for a couple of laps.

Lavilla hit back, taking charge over the final four laps, though his winning margin was less than half a second. "I stuck to my plan, though it was hard getting the power down – it was hard to pass Shane and this was the hardest race so far, but good fun."

Next time out, Lavilla accounted for the early leaders Michael Rutter and Karl Harris to be out-front on the third lap, but he was not allowed to pull clear. Harris, still smarting from being edged wide in the opening race, was determined to show what might have been.

The HM Plant Honda rider was giving nothing away, running the Ducati closely, and several times moving ahead, briefly, including a dramatic last corner challenge, but Lavilla took the victory by 0.058seconds.

"I played my cards right," smiled Lavilla. "Last year I was beaten by Ryuichi Kiyonari by the smallest possible margin in a similar move, but I learned from that experience, and was able to get the line and the victory.

"All of the teams are getting very close to us now and that means I have to work very hard – I am not talking or thinking about the title. Last year, Michael Rutter was 65 points clear at one stage and he did not take the championship. I am concentrating on each race, and scoring good points."

Harris was disappointed to finish second: "I'm gutted – I planned to top him here but that will have to wait now for the next round at Mondello Park."

Byrne was credited with third place after race officials studied an incident at the chicane on the final lap, ruling that Jonathan Rea had gained an advantage as he took to the grass, and relegating him to fourth, just ahead of Kiyonari and Rutter.

James Buckingham, with a winning double aboard the Quay Garage Honda, moved top of the British Superbike Cup standings, four points clear of Chris Martin who took third and second places on a day that saw Marty Nutt lose ground – the young Ulsterman had taken second place first time out, but then was sidelined by a machine problem.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship – Round Four Oulton Park

Race One:

17 laps

1 G Lavilla (Australia) Airwaves Ducati 27m 41.446s, av sp 99.16mph
2 S Byrne (GB) Rizla Suzuki +0.429s
3 L Haslam (GB) Airwaves Ducati +0.870s
4 J Haydon (GB) Rizla Suzuki +2.087s
5 K Harris (GB) HM Plant Honda +11.188s
6 R Kiyonari (JPN) HM Plant Honda +19.467s
Fastest lap: Byrne 1m 36.698s, av.sp. 100.22mph
Race Two:

17 laps

1 Lavilla 27m 33.612s Av sp 99.63mph
2 Harris +0.058
3 Byrne + 12.004s
4 J Rea(GB) Red Bull Honda +12.380s
5 Kiyonari +12.430s
6 M Rutter (GB) Stobart Honda +14.764s
Fastest lap: Harris 1m 36.245s, Av Sp 100.69 (lap record)
Championship standings

1 Lavilla 182pts
2 Haslam 121
3 Kiyonari 108
4 Harris 88
5= Byrne 78
5= Rea 78

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006

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