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BSB: Winning double puts Kiyonari into title lead

BSB: Winning double puts Kiyonari into title lead

BSB: Winning double puts Kiyonari into title lead

Ryuichi Kiyonari is the new leader in the chase for the Bennetts British Superbike title – the HM Plant Honda rider enjoyed a dominant, front running double victory in the ninth round at Oulton Park, fully capitalising on a second race machine failure that sidelined the defending champion Gregorio Lavilla.

Karl Harris had claimed pole start, with the fastest ever two-wheeled lap of the Cheshire circuit, but it was his team-mate Kiyonari who made the perfect start, with Leon Haslam, aboard the Airwaves Ducati hot on the charge, and moving ahead on a second lap that saw Harris tip off at Brittens.

Kiyonari soon re-asserted himself and by the end of the fifth lap was back in front and dictating terms as behind him Haslam was coming under pressure from his team-mate Lavilla who had battled through a fast moving pack, taking both Michael Rutter and Tommy Hill. The two Ducati riders duelled fast and furiously and at half distance, Lavilla moved second, but Haslam bit back strongly to take the placing.

Lavilla took third, ahead of Shane Bynre, riding Rizla Suzuki; Jonathan Rea aboard the Red Bull Honda; and the Stobart Honda duo of Rutter and Michael Laverty; with Scott Smart, Billy McConnell and Craig Coxhell completing the top ten.

Next time out, and Kiyonari was swiftly away, but this time Harris was snapping at the exhausts of the leading Honda as they fought for the upper-hand and though Harris re-wrote the record books with a super-fast third lap, it was all in vain as Kiyonari responded next time around with an even faster lap in a time of 1m 35.436scs, 101.54mph.

The Japanese rider was on course for a second double of the season, his seventh victory of the campaign and his 21st since arriving in the British series, and he knew that it would be sufficient to put him ahead in the title stakes for the first time this season as he saw Lavilla touring back to the pits, his race ended by a clutch problem.

Kiyonari took the victory by 2.786secs from Harris. "I am very happy – the second race was harder, Karl pressed me hard, but there is a long way to go in the championship, but now I fly back to Japan to compete in the Suzuka Eight Hour race feeling very good."

Kiyonari now leads the title stakes 274-269 over Haslam, with Lavilla back in third place on 260 points.

MotoGP, 2006

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