Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty held off a late charge from the Honda of Jonathan Rea to earn victory in race two at the eni Superbike World Championship round at Portimao, Portugal.
In control for most of the dry second race, Laverty came under pressure from the resurgent Rea’s Ten Kate CBR1000RR over the final two tours, but held off the challenge to win by .162 of a second. It was Laverty’s first victory of the 2012 SBK season.
Behind the dice for the lead, Max Biaggi earned a solid third on the second works Aprilia RSV4 Factory, well clear of the fourth placed Pata Ducati 1098R of Sylvain Guintoli. The result was key for SBK series leader Biaggi, the “Roman Emperor” in control of the Championship chase over the wild weekend on the coast of Portugal.
Heading into this penultimate round, Biaggi had a slim SBK series points lead from the BMW Motorrad entry of Marco Melandri and the Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja of Tom Sykes. In the first wet race run over two parts in Portimao, Sykes moved up the standings with a well judged victory. However Melandri was involved in a multi bike mess at the first start, and missed the rest of the program due to his injuries.
Then in the second race, Biaggi ran up front but Sykes was forced to pull in to the pits when he was black flagged due to oil smoke coming from his engine. So Biaggi was the only title protagonist to earn valuable points in race two.
With two races left to run at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours in France in two weeks, Biaggi is looking good for another Superbike crown. There are a potential 50 points still available, and Biaggi leads the standings with 347 points, followed by Sykes at 316.5. Melandri is third at 308.5 points, having failed to score in the past four races after taking the title chase lead in Russia.
Rookie Canadian racer Brett McCormick is just four rounds into his World Superbike race career, but has scored points in three of his last four races. Czech Republic-based McCormick sits 22nd in the standings with 19 points, coming off his career best fifth place finish in the difficult opening Portuguese race. In race two, he earned ninth.