Belfast Telegraph

Joy follows despair as Laverty claims victory

By Paul Lindsay

Eugene Laverty bounced back in style after suffering a blown engine in race one to take his fourth World Superbike victory of the season in Portugal.

The Ulsterman was out in front in the first race before his participation was brought to a premature end when the engine on his Aprilia bike blew up.

Everything was in full working order later in the day as he beat French team-mate Sylvain Guintoli into second place – his second runner-up finish of the day.

And it was a double podium for the Northern Ireland riders as Jonathan Rea responded from retiring in race one to claim third in the second running.

Guintoli's brace of second place finishes saw him increase the gap at the top of the championship standings.

He now leads Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes by 28 points after the Portimao round.

Yorkshire man Sykes took third place in race one behind Goldbet BMW's Marco Melandri and Guintoli, but he wasn't able to challenge for another podium place in race two after crashing out on the warm-up lap.

Laverty took 25 points for his race two victory, but with his ever-consistent team-mate taking a 40 point haul from the weekend, the Monaco-based Toome rider is third in the standings, a further 11 points behind Sykes.

Laverty was philosophical as ever after his seventh WSB career victory: "Race one never seems to go my way this year, but in race two we made amends," he said.

"The bike was great, we put a new engine in and everything ran perfectly.

"I just got to the front and tried to keep pushing as I knew Johnny was there, but I was confident the rear tyre grip on the Aprilia would stay until the end.

"True enough it did and we got a comfortable ride home."

Isle of Man-based Rea's struggles with the Pata Honda team continues.

In race one he retired from fifth place with an electrical problem, but gave the under-performing Honda an incredible podium in race two with third place.

Rea didn't try to hide his dissatisfaction post race when he said: "It's hard to be really happy about the podium as I'm quite frustrated right now after all the problems we're continually having – and also in the second part of that race.

"We are really struggling but I proved to myself that I had the pace in the beginning to go with Eugene.

"I just want to thank the team for all their efforts but it is frustrating times."

Sam Lowes continued his dominance of the World Supersport class taking his fourth victory on the bounce for Yakhnich Yamaha.

Mahi Racing Kawasaki team-mates Fabien Foret and Kenan Sofuoglu were second and third respectively with Ireland's Jack Kennedy sixth on the RivaMoto Honda.

Lowes extends his championship lead over reigning champion Sofuoglu to 39 points with Foret joint second with his Turkish team-mate.

Kennedy holds eight in the championship standings as the series now moves to Imola at the end of June.

e WILLIAM Dunlop followed on from the Isle of Man TT success of his brother Michael by winning the 600cc race during the post-TT meeting at Billown.

William clocked a fastest lap of 108.28mph to take first place on his Yamaha, winning by 24.5 seconds from Ballyclare rider Jamie Hamilton's Kawasaki.

Hamilton was later second in the Supertwins.

Belfast Telegraph


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