Kiyonari takes Superbike pole - June 25th 2005
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Ryuichi Kiyonari continued his domination of qualifying for the seventh
round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Knockhill by
taking his second pole position of the season. His HM Plant Honda Racing
team-mate Michael Rutter was the nearest challenger to his supremacy
throughout both qualifying sessions and finished in second position at
the chequered flag.
Tomorrow's two 30-lap Superbike races will see the first three positions
on the grid filled by CBR1000RR Fireblades after Red Bull Honda's
Jonathan Rea took an impressive third position. The signs are the Honda
riders may have a decisive advantage over the 1.3-mile circuit near
Dunfermline, with Kiyonari and Rutter looking to extend their winning
run in the 13-round series.
Kiyonari has already won half of this year's 12 races and his pole
position performance was typical of the speed that he has shown
throughout the four rounds that he has completed. The talented
22-year-old Japanese star lies third in the championship - eight points
behind Gregorio Lavilla - but he will be hoping to overtake the Spaniard
and close the gap on championship leader Rutter.
The 32-year-old Midlander has three victories to date and is 45 points
ahead of Lavilla in the championship chase, but he will be concentrating
on the imposing threat of his team-mate at Knockhill. Rutter's
qualifying performance was all the more impressive when he recorded his
fastest time only minutes after falling off at Seat Curve.
Michael Rutter: "That was an eventful qualifying session! My crash
happened with only about 15 minutes left and so I had to rush back to
the pits to get back out on my other HM Plant Honda. I lost the rear end
on the exit of the first turn, but was able to bounce back and record my
fastest time of the day after that. There's no doubt that Kiyo will be
the man to beat, but I hope that my experience will pay off tomorrow."
Ryuichi Kiyonari: "Last year this was a difficult track for me to master
in wet conditions. However, I learnt a lot when we returned here for a
pre-season test. This has helped me to set a strong pace throughout
qualifying on the HM Plant Honda. Like all the riders, I am hoping that
the fine conditions continue tomorrow. I know that it will be difficult
to win both races, but that must be my aim at the start of the day."
- 1. R. Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda Racing) 0:49.351
- 2. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 0:49.499
- 3. J. Rea (Red Bull Honda) 0:49.717
- 4. J. Reynolds (Suzuki) 0:49.735
- 5. D. Thomas (Kawasaki) 0:49.764
- 6. L. Haslam (Ducati) 0:49.772
- 7. M. Laverty (Honda) 0:49.857
- 8. J. Haydon (Suzuki) 0:49.880
- 9. K. Harris (Honda-Racing.co.uk) 0:49.894
- 10. G. Richards (Kawasaki) 0:49.912