RUTTER MUSCLED OUT OF IT AT CROFT
Stobart Motorsport rider Michael Rutter was left ruing his luck at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire as he left round ten of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship a disappointed man.
Riding the VK and Vent Axia backed Honda Fireblade, the 33 year old Midlander qualified on row two of the grid and despite the threatening weather; he posted a battling sixth place finish in the opening 20 lap race.
But it was in the wet second race that Rutter looked to have put his disappointing run of results behind him as he shot to the front of the field and led in the opening laps. However, any hopes of a podium were dashed when eventual winner Leon Haslam tried a pass which resulted in Rutter being forced onto the grass at Tower Bend, thus ending his challenge as he eventually battled back to another sixth place.
"I'm a bit disappointed really and there are some scores to be settled at Cadwell Park after some people pushed me around a little. We've proved we can still run up at the front and the bike has improved a lot over the weekend so I'm looking forward to Cadwell in a positive frame of mind. Two sixth places with all things considered is OK, but not what I wanted" said a dejected Rutter.
Meanwhile team mate Michael Laverty was hoping to be challenging for a podium position at the circuit where he impressed last season but problems in race one saw the 25 year old Ulsterman eventually finish in a lowly 13th place before bouncing back with a better ride into seventh in the treacherous conditions of race two.
"I'm happy enough with my performance in race two but I was spinning up a bit on the rear meaning I couldn't get past Michael and Kiyo. We changed some settings before race one and that was a bit of a disaster but race two made up for it. We'll move onto Cadwell now and try to make sure we're fast from the off as this weekend, it's been a bit of a struggle" said Laverty.
Team owner Paul Bird was entertaining a number of important sponsors at Croft and whilst he was pleased to see his rider in the lead, he shared Rutter's frustration: "That was alright but what happened was typical of the sort of luck we've had this season. I'm happy with four finishes but it was a bit of a character building weekend. We'll move on to Cadwell in a couple of weekend's time and see what that brings us but for whatever reason, it's just not been our season so we'll have to hope it turns around in the last three races" said the Penrith businessman.
The next round of the Championship takes place on August 27th/28th at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.
Superbike Race One Result
1, Ryuichi Kiyonari (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, , 7, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +37.520s, 8, Craig Coxhell (Kawasaki) +38.093s, 9, Steve 6, Michael Rutter (Stobart Honda) +25.601s Plater (Suzuki) +38.838s, 10, Karl Harris (Honda) +39.410s-- 13, Michael Laverty (Stobart Honda) +54.545s.
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 (Stobart Honda) +25.553s, 7, Michael Laverty (Stobart Honda) +26.782s, 8, Peter Hickman (Kawasaki) +43.486s, 9, Glen Richards (Honda) +45.633s, 10, Craig Coxhell (Kawasaki) +49.399s-- 13, Jonathan Rea (Honda) +1m06.496s.
<pre> Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings (after round 10) 1, Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 310 2, Leon Haslam Ducati 307 3, Gregorio Lavilla Ducati 292 4, Shane Byrne Suzuki 198 5, Jonathan Rea Honda 176 6, Karl Harris Honda 175 7, Michael Laverty Stobart Honda 139 8, Michael Rutter Stobart Honda 138 9, Tommy Hill Yamaha 127 10, Glen Richards Honda 87
-credit: paul bird motorsport