Kiyonari's crash leaves Rutter on title track
Monday 11 July 2005
Kiyonari, 22, scored his ninth win of the season in the first leg, but crashed his HM Plant Honda at Sears corner in the second race when he was holding third place.
Rutter, riding with bandaged shoulders after a crash in practice, took third and fifth places, and now maintains a 45-point lead over his team-mate with 10 races remaining.
"That was a hard weekend," Rutter, 32, said. "I had a problem with my quick-shift gearchange in the first race, and in the second race I kept backing the bike into the turns. I was too rigid in my riding." He revealed after the second race: "I've broken one collarbone, and I think the other one's been pushed out a bit."
It was Kiyonari's second expensive error of the season. He crashed at Mallory Park in April and missed four races, and was only 29 points behind Rutter in the title chase when he fell at Snetterton. From the start of the opening leg yesterday it was evident that Rutter was having problems pitching his bike into corners with his usual élan on this Norfolk circuit, where top speeds can reach more than 190mph.
Kiyonari led from the start, from Leon Haslam (Airwaves Ducati), Michael Laverty (Stobart Honda) and Rutter. Haslam pressured Kiyonari in the early laps, but the Japanese rider eventually won by an unflustered 8.2sec.
"I lost the tow from his slipstream," Haslam said later.
Laverty crashed, but Rutter then came under pressure from the Rizla Suzuki pairing of James Haydon and John Reynolds, the series champion. Reynolds, who broke a leg in pre-season testing, claimed his first podium position of the season in third place, leading home Haydon and Rutter.
There seemed little that could stop Kiyonari from recording his 10th win of the season in the second outing. But after he crashed, the Spanish rider Gregorio Lavilla won his third race of the season on his Airwaves Ducati, and the 24-year-old Laverty claimed his best-ever result, second place.
Haslam dropped out of third with a smoking engine, while Haydon crashed, leaving Reynolds to lead the Suzuki challenge in fourth place. Chris Jones, a 14-year-old prodigy in the Red Bull Rookies Honda team, displayed all the maturity of an adult when he won his second 125cc race of the season after the initial leader, Ashley Beech, had crashed.
"Consistency is the key to success," the teenager said afterwards. "I just kept the pressure on."
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