September, 26 2012
Eugene Laverty notched up his first win of the season at the World Superbike Championship in Portimao last weekend, to put Aprilia within touching distance of the 2012 manufacturers’ title.
Going into the race Laverty was confident he could pull off a podium place, and despite a below par 13th finish in race 1 it was in the following race that the Aprilia man imposed himself.
Taking an early lead thanks to problems for Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes, Laverty was at one stage leading by more than three seconds. Though Jonathan Rea pinned him back in the final laps, Laverty held on for his much anticipated - and much deserved - first win on the Aprilia.
“My first win with, and for, Aprilia came on my favourite track with a lot of my fans trackside, who I'd like to thank,” said Laverty, who now has three career WSBK victories (the two others were at Monza) to his name.
“Grip in Race 2 wasn't perfect. I tried to push hard right away to gain an advantage and then I was able to maintain it to the end,” he added.
With one race left in the championship Laverty’s win means he has a realistic chance of ending the season in fifth position, which would be a terrific result in his first year with the Italian manufacturer after moving from Yamaha.
“This year we had some difficult moments, like we had in race one today, but we're finally showing our potential with some good progress at the end of the season,” said Laverty.
The success of Laverty, added to team-mate Max Biaggi’s win in race 1, means Aprilia come away from Portugal with a 28.5 point lead over BMW, so there is plenty at stake going into the final round of the season at Magny-Cours in France on the 6-7 October.
WSBK Top 10 standings: 1) Biaggi 347 points, 2) Sykes 316.5, 3) Melandri 308.5, 4) Checa 278.5, 5) Rea 255.5, 6) Laverty 241.5, 7) Haslam 189, 8) Guintoli 172.5, 9) Davies 156.5, 10) Fabrizio 156.5.