Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Double Dutch for Laverty and Rea

Eugene Laverty from Toomebridge celebrates after taking victory in race two of the World Superbike Championship meeting in Assen, Netherlands

Ulstermen Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty both stood on the podium at Assen in the Netherlands, during round three of the World Superbike Championship.

Laverty took a cunning race two victory for Aprilia Racing after out-foxing race one winner Tom Sykes in the closing stages, when the duo broke away from the pursuing pack.

The victory moves the Toomebridge man into joint second place in the World Superbike Championship standings alongside Sykes and Rea on 83 points.

The trio are just 28 points behind Laverty's team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, who leads the series with 111 points after finishing third in race one and sixth next time out.

Pata Honda rider Rea jumped onto his first podium of the season in race one, taking second place away from Guintoli after a brave, dare-devil move just three laps from home.

"It was fantastic to get the victory when really I didn't think that we could beat Tom today," said Laverty.

"My crew, along with my brother John, got their heads together after race one, where we finished fourth, and gave me a bike good enough for the win.

"It puts us closer to the championship leader after the disaster we had at Aragon and gives me a win on my girlfriend Pippa's birthday."

Sykes, who started in pole position, was the runaway winner for Kawasaki Racing by a massive nine seconds from Rea, who notched his 30th career podium in WSB.

The smiling Ballyclare man said: "It feels good to be back on the podium. It was a little bit frustrating as we had nothing for Tom today; he was on a different planet, but I have to be happy with the way I rode.

"When you put 100 per cent effort in and get a podium out of it, it is always satisfying."

Laverty had been involved in the battle for second spot with Rea, but he slipped back and couldn't manage to knock his team-mate Guintoli off the final place on the podium either.

Loris Baz (Kawasaki) came home in fifth ahead of Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) and the BMW of Chaz Davies who had to start from the last row of the grid after crashing earlier in the day and having to have his bike rebuilt by his pit crew.

To make matters worse for BMW, Davies' team-mate Marco Melandri didn't manage to start the race after his bike suffered a technical problem during the warm-up lap.

Laverty and Sykes battled for the race two win, with the Ulsterman crossing the line 0.089 seconds in front.

Baz won the battle with Rea for third, with Davies and Guintoli coming home fifth and sixth respectively.

Leon Camier (Suzuki) finished the race in seventh and a fast starting Melandri faded to come home in eighth.

Assen also proved a great venue for British, World Supersport contender Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Yamaha). The Lincolnshire man out-gunned current world champ Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Kawasaki), taking the victory by just 0.02 of a second from the Turkish rider.

The victory moves Lowes up to third in the championship standings behind Fabien Foret (Mahi Kawasaki) and Pata Honda's Michael Van der Mark.

Dublin's Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) showed good promise early on in the Supersport encounter, but disappointingly faded to finish seventh when top four was on the cards.

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