Motorcycling: Kiyonari plays it safe to seal title

The Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari performed cannily here yesterday to clinch the Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the second consecutive year with unspectacular third and fourth places in the two title races.

Kiyonari, 25, started the day with a 37-point advantage over his HM Plant Honda team-mate Jonathan Rea, and needed only to stay out of trouble to block the ambitions of British riders.

On the 1.2-mile Brands Indy circuit, where riders lap in a frenzied 45 seconds, Kiyonari wisely avoided scrapping with rivals who had more to prove, and ended the 26-race season with a 26-point advantage over Rea.

"Before the race I was nervous," said Kiyonari, who has won promotion to the World Superbike series next year. "I was thinking, 'Must not crash.' But sometimes if you don't ride hard and push you can lose concentration and crash."

The meticulous Spanish rider Gregorio Lavilla scored a double victory on his Airwaves Ducati, coming from behind both times to overwhelm both the HM Plant competitors. In the first leg he started fourth, but eventually sliced in front of Rea on the 22nd of 30 laps. Kiyonari confirmed his title with third place, ahead of Leon Haslam (Airwaves Ducati) and the 22-year-old Rizla Suzuki rider Cal Crutchlow.

Rea blazed into the lead in the second race, but Lavilla claimed the glory with another display of centimetre-perfect riding on the sinuous Brands ribbon. Crutchlow scored his first-ever podium position in the series with third place, from Kiyonari and Haslam.

The event marked the end of an era in the championship, which will lose its top two riders next year and, it appears, the powerful GSE Racing squad which has won the series three times. They are in dispute with the series' organisers over technical rules, and their colourful Ducatis may be absent from the grid next year unless a last-minute compromise is achieved.

Elsewhere, the newly-crowned MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner delighted the home crowd at Phillip Island sunday, claiming his ninth victory of the season at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Australian, who was crowned world champion for the first time with a sixth place finish in Japan three weeks ago, was third on the grid but enjoyed an excellent start, overtaking pole sitter Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi to lead at the first corner. Stoner, 22 on Tuesday, held on easily to finish 6.763 seconds ahead of his Ducati teammate Loris Capirossi, becoming the first Australian to win at Phillip Island since Mick Doohan in 1998.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor