British Superbikes: Michael Laverty shown way by Alastair Seeley
It was a great weekend for Relentless by TAS Suzuki with two podiums in the British Superbike class at Snetterton.
Series rookie Alastair Seeley took third place after a race-long battle with James Ellison on the Swan Honda.
Michael Laverty then took his sixth podium of the year with a repeat result for the Moneymore based team in race two.
Both riders were also involved in the rearranged Knockhill race two at the Norfolk venue on Saturday but, despite a front row start, Seeley and Laverty could only manage fifth and sixth place.
The victory was taken by Aussie Josh Brookes, who stole in on his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari to take the win on the last lap; Tommy Hill was third with Michael Rutter fourth.
HM Plant Honda then took both BSB victories on Sunday with their riders Josh Brookes and Ryuichi Kiyonari sharing the spoils. But it was a bittersweet day for the Honda duo as Kiyonari retired with a mechanical problem in the opening race and Brookes followed suit in race two.
Worx Crescent Suzuki rider Tommy Hill regained top spot in the championship by just two points over Brookes after finishing second in both of Sunday’s races.
After his podium in race two and fifth place in race one, Michael Laverty (below) remains in fourth place on 183 points, 18 ahead of Michael Rutter.
The battle for the final Shootout position swung back and forth all weekend between local men Alastair Seeley and John Laverty, with Laverty ending the weekend on top.
Seeley had looked the stronger after his race one podium yesterday, but the Carrickfergus man crashed out of race two while disputing fourth place with James Ellison and Tommy Hill.
Seeley unfortunately wiped out Ellison in the crash; the Swan Honda man being taken to the medical centre to see if the incident had aggravated his right femur injury, picked up at Thruxton in April.
John Laverty had a bird’s eye view of the crash and it was just the incentive he needed, taking fifth place at the chequered flag to leapfrog Seeley by a single point in the championship standings. Laverty is now on 129 to Seeley’s 128.
Michael Laverty said: “It’s been a really frustrating weekend for me to be honest as we seemed to be down on speed for the first time this year.
“That last race was a real scrap for the lead and I thought I could beat Kiyo, but we just didn’t seem to have the pace.”
Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi just missed out on a remarkable podium finish on his return from a broken leg as Dani Pedrosa breathed life back into the MotoGP title race with victory in the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.
Fourth place capped an amazing comeback from Rossi, exactly six weeks after suffering a compound fracture of his right shin in an horrific highside in Italian Grand Prix practicE.
The 31-year-old, who has only been able to walk around the paddock with the aid of a crutch, could not quite match the pace of title contenders Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, but the Fiat Yamaha rider was more than a match for the rest of the field, enjoying a superb battle with old foe Casey Stoner.
Rossi was delighted with his performance but also went out of his way to criticise Stoner, accusing the Australian of only raising his game when he had caught him.
“I have never been so happy for a fourth place,” he said.
“I had a great battle with Stoner, when he saw me he really let loose, but MotoGP needs these type of races.
“The next time I should wear the colours of some other rider. If Stoner had finished behind me he would have whined like he did at Laguna Seca in the past years, but this is racing.”