/ Motorsport

Eugene Laverty wins as Max Biaggi edges closer to Superbike Championship

Updated: Wednesday, 26 Sep 2012 14:19 | Comments

Eugene Laverty
Eugene Laverty

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Ireland’s Eugene Laverty took his first Superbike win for Aprilia at Portimao on Sunday as team mate Max Biaggi took a giant stride towards his second World Championship.

Biaggi, who finished fourth in race one and third in the second race, extended his lead in the riders' standings to 30.5 points after Sunday’s two races at Portimao.

It was the misfortune of his two nearest rivals that really played into the hands of Biaggi.

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes won the opening race to close to within 14.5 points of Biaggi, but when the Briton suffered mechanical problems in race two, the Italian was able to pull away again.

BMW's Marco Melandri, Biaggi's nearest challenger at the start of the day, just 9.5 points in arrears, is now effectively out of the title race after a heavy crash in race one left him in hospital with a suspected bruised kidney and unable to take the start of race two.

With just 50 points to play for at the final two races in France on October 7, Biaggi's lead looks all but untouchable providing he can pick up a decent points haul at Magny-Cours.

The opening race was run in wet conditions and had drama from the outset as Melandri fell attempting a pass on Biaggi and was struck by Chaz Davies.

With Melandri on his way to the local hospital, it was left to pole-sitter Sykes to control the restarted race at the front, the Briton eventually coming home ahead of Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) and Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Ducati), with Biaggi happy to pick up good points in fourth.

At the start of race two Laverty made a great start to lead from Sykes, who was then dropped to third by Davies.

Sykes' race ended in a cloud of smoke as his Kawasaki hit trouble, leaving Biaggi to replace him in third.

Briton Davies crashed out to briefly hand Biaggi second, but the Italian was happy to cede that place to Honda's Jonathan Rea late on as Laverty cantered home to his first victory for Aprilia.

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