Michael Laverty produced the performance of a lifetime during yesterday’s British Superbike round at Croft in North Yorkshire.
The Toomebridge man ended the day with a fine victory in race two — his second of the season — after a solid second place in the opening encounter for the Relentless by TAS Suzuki team.
He now moves into second place in the championship standings with just five races remaining.
Laverty’s main rival all day at the fast and bumpy Yorkshire venue was fellow Suzuki pilot, and championship leader Tommy Hill, on the Worx Crescent backed machine. And while the remaining four, Shootout ‘Title Fighers’ faltered, Laverty and Hill mopped up the points taking 45 apiece.
Laverty had led race one early doors before the aggressive 25-year-old Worx Crescent Suzuki man powered past, demonstrating his minor superiority to take the win by just a 10th of a second. Swan Honda’s Stuart Easton was gifted third place, albeit 10 seconds adrift, after Michael Rutter crashed out of a podium place.
The Midlands’ veteran re-joined the action on his ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati, but could only manage 23rd place and drops to fifth place in the standings. The other Title Fighters also struggled: HM Plant Honda’s Josh Brookes came through from a lowly 13th place on the grid to finish sixth and his Japanese team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari was even further back in 11th; Alastair Seeley crashed out on lap nine.
In race two Laverty put in a gritty performance. After making a break in the early laps, Hill impressively reeled him in, but Laverty wasn’t prepared to give way. The TAS Racing employee sat on Hill’s back wheel; set him up for an equally sublime move just a lap and a half from home, and defended superbly to take his second win of the season.
Easton was again third, but such was the pace at the front, he was over eigth seconds adrift on his Swan Honda. Kiyonari was the third of the Title Fighters home in fourth, with Rutter fifth and Brookes eighth. Alastair Seeley capped off a tough weekend at Croft with a solitary point in 15th and looks out of the title hunt.