HM Plant Honda riders Ryuichi Kiyonari and Karl Harris experienced a mixed day at a rain soaked Croft circuit in round ten of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship today (13 August). Kiyonari scored his eighth win of the season in the opening race while Harris looked set to follow suit in the second only to be beaten to the flag in a race he dominated.

In the first race of the day, Kiyonari, who converted his front row start to second place, quickly took the lead on the back straight before being passed by Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Gregorio Lavilla on lap three. Kiyo only temporarily occupied fourth before passing Lavilla on the start-finish straight of the 2.12-mile track.  The Japanese rider then set his sights on second placed Haslam finally passing him two laps later.  Fellow Honda rider Rea had established a strong lead at the head of the field, however the Irishman went wide and Kiyo took advantage of his error and passed him, moving up into first, a position he was to maintain until the end of the 20-lap fixture.

Torrential rain greeted the second race of the day and the drama, like the weather, was unrelenting. Kiyo got away in third place and Harris in fifth. Harris soon passed Tommy Hill and established himself in fourth before overtaking his team mate Kiyonari and Gregorio Lavilla. Harris continued his charge and was soon at the head of the field after passing race leader Michael Rutter at the Clarke Esses. The Sheffield-based rider stretched away from the ensuing pack and by lap eleven had established an impressive 8.7second lead. However a hard charging Leon Haslam was as eager as Harris to claim his maiden British Superbike victory and, as soon as he had passed his team mate Gregorio Lavilla on lap 12, launched his attack on Harris.

The HM Plant rider put in a valiant effort to defend his position aboard his Michelin-shod Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade but Haslam out dragged him to the chequered flag on the final lap and snatched Harris’ maiden victory from him by the slimmest of margins – nine hundredths of a second.

In the second race of the day Kiyonari finished in fifth place. As a result of Haslam’s win Kiyonari now has a slim three-point lead over him in the Championship standings.

In race one Harris had a disappointing outing. Harris got a clean start to his race and settled in a sixth place before sliding out at the hairpin on lap three after a coming together with Tommy Hill. Harris re-joined the field in 16th working his way up to finish in 10th place.

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “The first race was fine, at first it was a little damp. I was a little too careful at one point and the other three riders passed me but I concentrated hard and made my way back through the field, the second was not so good as I don’t like the heavy rain.”

Karl Harris: “I’m gutted about the second race, but I guess that’s the way it goes. I wasn’t expecting the see Leon. I broke the lap record on the second to last lap with a 27.2, and I thought that would have sewn it up, but he then did a 26.6 on the last lap and just got me. I guess that’s as close as you can get to winning without actually winning!”

Superbike Race One Result
1, Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 27m23.430s, 2, Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.947s, 3, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +2.132s, 4, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +2.339s, 5, Shane Byrne (Suzuki) +19.107s, 6, Michael Rutter (Honda) +25.601s, 7, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +37.520s, 8, Craig Coxhell (Kawasaki) +38.093s, 9, Steve Plater (Suzuki) +38.838s, 10, Karl Harris (HM Plant Honda) +39.410s.

Fastest Lap: Leon Haslam 1m20.508s – 95.11mph


Superbike Race Two Result

1, Leon Haslam (Ducati) 26m57.266s, 2, Karl Harris (Honda) +0.090s, 3, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +13.712s, 4, Shane Byrne (Suzuki) +15.954s, 5, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +23.642s, 6, Michael Rutter (Honda) +25.553s, 7, Michael Laverty (Honda) +26.782s, 8, Peter Hickman (Kawasaki) +43.486s, 9, Glen Richards (Honda) +45.633s, 10, Craig Coxhell (Kawasaki) +49.399s… 13, Jonathan Rea (Red Bull Honda) +1m06.496s.

Best Lap: Leon Haslam 1m26.661s – 88.35mph

Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings (after round 10)
1, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 310pts
2, Leon Haslam (Ducati) 307pts
3, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 292pts
4, Shane Byrne (Suzuki) 198pts
5, Jonathan Rea (Red Bull Honda) 176pts
6, Karl Harris (Honda) 175pts
7, Michael Laverty (Honda) 139pts
8, Michael Rutter (Honda) 138pts
9,, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) 127pts
10, Glen Richards (Honda) 87pts



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