Eugene Laverty proves point with Laguna Seco win
Eugene Laverty's World Superbike title charge is still alive after a brilliant Race Two win at Laguna Seco in California last night to follow up his third place finish in Saturday night's first race.
Toome rider Eugene, with a point to prove to his Aprilia team bosses who are allowing his contract to run down, showed what they stand to miss next season as he powered his machine to a thrilling victory over second placed Italian Davide Giugliano, also Aprilia mounted, with fellow Italian Marco Melandri third on his BMW and Yorkshireman Tom Sykes, the Race 1 winner, fourth on his Kawasaki.
Laverty now climbs to second in the championship, ahead of his team-mate, and lies 23 points behind Sykes after successfully defending Giugliano's attempts into the final corner.
The Ulsterman kept his nerve and composure as the lead continually changed hands and finally made his move on then leader Sykes on the second last lap.
Laverty said as he mounted the top step of the podium: “We're always doing the maths in our head, but I still wasn't sure if I could do it.
“We didn't have a lot of grip, but the RSV-4 worked well. That was one of the best races of my life and I'm absolutely delighted.”
Giugliano acknowledged: “It was a great battle.” And Melandri added: “It was difficult. I always struggle at the start and at the end today I was better. I almost went down trying to pass but third was the best I could get today.”
Sykes' 1st and 4th from this weekend mean he now sits on 361 points. Laverty moves into 2nd, 23 back and one ahead of Guintoli heading to this week's round at Magny Cours in France.
Eugene's brother Michael was less fortunate in the Aragon MotoGP round in Spain, failing to make the classification.
Marc Marquez extended his MotoGP points lead by winning at Aragon but his victory came only after he played a part in the crash of Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
Marquez grazed the back of Pedrosa's bike when he was trying to pass him with 18 laps to go, causing Pedrosa to lose control and slide down the track with sparks flying.
“I touched him a little with the front of my bike, and they tell me I may have broken a cable and that's why he fell,” said Marquez. “It was very unlucky. That doesn't usually happen.”
A furious Pedrosa, who won in Aragon last year and turned 28 yesterday, had to be carried off the track by the medical crew. He later said that he was fine except for some pain in his pelvis.
“Marc always rides to the limit when he has riders in front,” said Pedrosa.
“He hit me from behind and that's where my race ended. It doesn't matter what he says.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital