Michael Laverty sealed his position in the British Superbike Title Showdown by taking third positions in Monday’s two races at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, where championship leader Tommy Hill raced to a tremendous double success.
In race one Laverty led for two laps of the 18-lap race before giving way to reigning champion Hill and surprise package of the weekend Alex Lowes; Laverty knowing that third was good enough to guarantee him that vital top six position, as only the top six riders can fight it out to be British Champion over the last three rounds.
Afterwards Laverty said: “Job done, that’s the pressure off with podium credits now the target.”
In race two Laverty held off Hill, Lowes and Josh Brookes for eight laps before firstly Hill sailed through into the lead at the first bend and then five laps from the end Brookes squeezed the Tyco Suzuki by TAS inside Laverty at the Hairpin pushing the Toomebridge rider down to third.
After the second race, Laverty said: “It has been a real positive weekend to get a double podium for the Samsung Honda Team at their home track and guarantee my place in the Title Showdown.
“It was never on our agenda to finish the season outside the top six, but a few setbacks throughout the season made it nervy at one stage.
“Now we’ve made it into the final six contenders we need to keep chipping away with the bike, not 100% today, and try to get as many podium credits as possible at Donington before the final three-round showdown at Assen, Silverstone and Brands Hatch.”
Brookes, already confirmed in the showdown, said after his fifth and second place results yesterday: “I had qualified badly after being spooked by the injuries to Shakey Byrne and Noriuki Haga (both suffered nasty shoulder injuries in practice) thinking what have I to gain this weekend.
“The front row start in race two gave me a chance to fight with the fastest guys and we came through with another podium and another podium credit — roll on Donington Park in two weeks.”
With Donington the final chance for the last two places in the top six to be filled, Ian Lowry after seventh and 12th places yesterday is tantalising close, currently in seventh position just six points adrift of Lowes.
The final two places are still up for grabs with eight riders still capable of securing slots, including Lowry and Alastair Seeley, the Carrick rider having a disappointing day finishing 13th and 14th.
In the Supersport needle match between Jack Kennedy and Glen Richards, the Australian claimed victory in yesterday’s feature race as fierce rival Kennedy had to settle for a lowly seventh place finish having made the wrong intermediate tyre choice while the majority of the field ran dry tyres as the track dried out following rain.
Kennedy’s disappointing seventh cost him the lead in the championship with Richards now nine and a half points ahead.
Glenn Irwin maintained his Cup series lead by finishing in ninth position with Nikki Coates 12th starting from pit lane.
Keith Farmer did his Superstock 1000 championship hopes no harm with a start to finish win in a damp race in which he was continually harried by Joe Burns, who made a mistake on the penultimate lap, lunging past Farmer but running into the grass.
Farmer took a one second victory over Burns and a 10-point championship lead over Jason O’Halloran who finished third.
Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, Jonathan Rea joined the MotoGP stars for the first of a two-day test at the Brno Circuit riding the Repsol Honda of injured Casey Stoner.
Rea completed over 60 laps yesterday and ended the test in eighth position some 3.1secs off the fastest time of the day set by fellow Brit Cal Crutchlow.
Elsewhere, Manx Grand Prix racing was cancelled due to bad weather with the 250/350cc classic race and Junior Manx rescheduled for today with the classic race, in which Ryan Farquhar starts favourite, first away at noon.