Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty had a day of polarised fortunes at the 6th round of the World Superbike Championship from Portimão, with a retirement in the first race and a dominant win in the second.
|Fourth victory of the year for Laverty
Photo: Aprilia Racing
Starting from second on the grid at the beginning of the first race, the Irishman took the lead on lap six and managed to form a gap between himself and the pursuing trio of Melandri, Sykes and his team mate Guintoli. However, on lap eleven down the start/finish straight, Laverty’s engine blew, putting an end to his race which was heading towards near certain victory.
After Sykes managed to crash his Kawasaki on the sighting lap of race two and subsequently had to start from pit lane, Laverty effectively began the race from pole position. He, and his fellow countryman, Jonathan Rea lead the first half of the race with a comfortable gap between themselves and the second wave of riders behind. However, with nine laps left, Laverty began to break away from Rea, who fell victim to Guintoli a couple of laps later. By this time, the Irishman was too fast and too far gone for his team mate to be able to close down; Laverty won by a substantial margin of four seconds, claiming his 4th win of the season.
This means that the former World Supersport runner-up sits third in the championship, just 11 points behind Sykes in second place and a further 28 points behind Guintoli at the top of the standings. “Race 1 seems to be cursed for us this year, especially on tracks like this one and Aragon where I had the right pace to take a double win. In any case I’m not one to complain. The important thing is to always start off with sights set high and to strike back when hard luck strikes. I was really trying hard for this win and I’m pleased to have been able to do it dominating from the first to last lap. I’m in the running for the Championship even with a few too many races with no points, but we are growing race by race and I’m confident about the upcoming rounds”.