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WSS: Laverty out-drags Pitt for maiden win
14 March 2009
Eugene Laverty has taken a first World Supersport career victory after winning a thrilling drag race across the finish line against Andrew Pitt in Qatar.
The Irishman was in tremendous form from the start, snatching the lead on the first lap and leading for the majority of the race, even if he had to share the top spot with Pitt and Kenan Sofuoglu at various stages.
Ultimately, Laverty's win came down to his apparent speed advantage, his Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR proving visibly quicker down the lengthy home straight, even against his Ten Kate counterparts.
His battle with Pitt raged for much of the race, the Aussie rider taking the lead on lap eight, only for Laverty – who dropped to third briefly – to move back ahead on lap 14.
Laverty would hold on for the next couple of laps, but Pitt was exercising an advantage in the final sector to move back ahead on the penultimate lap, only to see Laverty almost immediately draught back past as they entered the final revolution.
Pitt wasn't done yet though, repeating the same move a lap later to enter the last corner of the race in the lead. However, Laverty got a good run out of the right-hander to tuck beneath Pitt and gradually edge his way past as they dragged it out to the finish line.
Scoring a winning margin of just 0.063secs (Sofuoglu beat Pitt by 0.060secs in Australia), the win signals a popular first for both Laverty and Parkalgar.
Speaking in the press conference afterwards, Laverty would go on to dedicate his victory to fallen Parkalgar rider Craig Jones, paying tribute to him by saying that it is his influence and hard work that has gotten the team to where they are now.
As was the case in Australia, the leading pack was a large one, with seven riders within a second of each other at the mid-way point, although Laverty, Pitt, Sofuoglu and pole sitter Cal Crutchlow would eventually break away.
Sofuoglu and Crutchlow embarked on a patchy race, with both riders making errors that would cost them a chance at snatching victory. The pair even briefly came together at one point when Crutchlow moved ahead and was tapped by Sofuoglu.
Crutchlow won out in the end though after Sofuoglu's attempt to relieve Laverty of second place in the final corner caused him to drift wide and allow the Yamaha through to third position. The result marks the British rider's first podium at this level.
Behind the top four, Honda continued to dominate, with Robbin Harms doing an excellent job on the Veidec machine to finish fifth, although his cause was aided when Mark Aitchison crashed out of the position with less than three laps remaining.
His team-mate Matthieu Lagrive held on for sixth, ahead of Garry McCoy, who did a fine job to scythe his way through the field and take seventh for Triumph. Massimo Roccoli was eighth, ahead of Anthony West, while Barry Veneman gave Suzuki their first top ten result of the season in tenth.
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