HM Plant Honda Racing is heading to Mondello Park in Ireland for round five of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in full fighting force with both riders. Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari is making his return to the series at the 2.176-mile track.
He missed round four at Oulton Park due to a slight concussion following an accident in the first race at the previous event at Mallory Park. However, the 22-year-old is fully fit and determined to re-establish himself within the ultra-competitive championship after dropping to fourth position overall. Despite that, he is still only eight points behind second place and cannot be ruled out for his third double victory of the season even though he has never raced at Mondello Park before.
Although HM Plant Honda Racing team-mate Michael Rutter now leads the title-chase by 56 points, he is acutely aware that Kiyonari will pose the biggest threat to his chances of claiming further victories. However, Rutter did score a race win at the track last year and is eager to secure the crown for himself in 2005 after finishing third and second respectively in previous seasons.
Michael Rutter: "I have managed to secure some vital wins and podium finishes over the last two rounds, but I have to say that it was easier with Kiyonari not racing. I know that he'll be very strong when he comes back for Mondello Park, so it's important for me to focus on achieving the best results that I can to retain my advantage in the championship.
Ryuichi Kiyonari: "I am looking forward to getting back on the bike this weekend. I have not raced at Mallory Park before because I was injured for that round last year, so the practice and qualifying sessions are very important for me to be able to do well there."
Mondello Park - vital statistics;
- Circuit length: 2.176 miles
- Superbike lap record: 1:40.731 (John Reynolds)
- BSB race one winner: 1. Scott Smart; 2. John Reynolds; 3. Glen Richards; 20. Michael Rutter
- BSB race two winner: 1. Michael Rutter; 2. John Reynolds; 3. Scott Smart