After a difficult start to his 2012 British Superbike campaign Michael Laverty bounced back to form yesterday at a sun-kissed Snetterton with his first podiums of the season, taking second place in race one and then comprehensively winning race two to leap up the championship table from 11th to fourth.
Laverty is the seventh different winner of the eight races this season and afterwards the Toomebridge ace said: “Lucky number seven and hopefully that’s the kick start we needed for the rest of the season.
“We rectified our early season problems between Oulton and this weekend and here I just got my head down, worked the tyre hard to get a good lead and controlled the race.
“We’ve got the Samsung Honda back in the zone and can now look forward to the next round at Knockhill, but before then I have a World Endurance race in Qatar for the TT Legends Honda Team.”
Earlier, the first 16-lap race was a three-man scrap between Tommy Hill, Laverty and Tyco Suzuki by TAS rider Josh Brookes that Laverty led for five laps before Hill edged ahead, going on to win by 1.3secs from the Ulsterman with Brookes dropping off the pace to finish 4.2secs behind in third.
Laverty added: “That’s a load off my shoulders. We were due that result. Midway through the race the oil pressure red warning light on the dash came on and it unsettled me for a lap or two.
“I tried to come back at Tommy, but made a couple of mistakes and even clipped a slower rider on the last lap. I’m just glad to be back at the front.”
In race two Laverty, from pole position, led from start to finish setting the fastest lap, as race one winner Hill retired from the action and Noriuki Haga, Luca Scassa and Tommy Bridewell all crashed out.
Alastair Seeley was forced off-track in race one by the crashing John Kirkham and never recovered finishing outside the points in 16th position, a finish he repeated in race two, dropping from sixth in the championship chase to tenth; John Laverty claimed two 18th place results.
A stunning 15-lap supersport race saw Jack Kennedy take the Temple-based Mar-Train Yamaha from fourth position going into the last bend on the final lap to first across the finish line, out-dragging his rivals to win by two-hundredths of a second
At one point any one of eight riders were in with a shout of winning and on the final lap the lead changed hands seven times before a jubilant Kennedy edged in front on the line to extend his championship lead.
“I wasn’t sure I could win, but I knew the last lap would be a bit of a mess and so it proved.
“As the ones in front of me ran a bit wide at the last corner I was able to take advantage, pulling out of their slipstream.
“It was a great race and at one stage I didn’t think I would get a podium never mind the win. I won Saturday’s race as well, which makes it a terrific weekend for Tim Martin and the rest of the team.”
Near neighbours Glenn Irwin and Nikki Coates finished sixth and seventh.
Tyre problems dropped Keith Farmer from second position to fifth in the Superstock 1000cc race, retaining fourth place in the championship chase.
TT 2012 practice got under way on Saturday evening with newcomers and the new lightweight class for Supertwin machines.
Ryan Farquhar, winner of the Supertwin class at the North West 200, set the fastest speed of the evening at 113.587mph on his second lap with Adrian Archibald second fastest ahead of Cameron Donald, William Dunlop, James Hillier and John Burrows.
Practice continues this evening when the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines take to the circuit for the first time.
In the United States, Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea were fifth and sixth respectively after second qualifying for the latest World Superbike races.
Meanwhile, Richie Ryan scored a double at Mondello Park in the senior open races at the Leinster 100 meeting, while Luke Johnston and Joseph Loughlin shared the Clubman Supersport honours.