WSS: Foret battles to fortuitous Brno win
26 July 2009
Eugene Laverty has moved himself back into the World Supersport title fight after Cal Crutchlow was forced to retire whilst dominating proceedings at Brno.
The Briton was leading the race by more than six seconds when his Yamaha began slowing with less than three laps remaining, his demise instead allowing team-mate Fabien Foret to claim a stunning last gasp win.
Although he couldn't take full advantage, Laverty's fifth place means Crutchlow's margin over him in the overall standings is down to 17 points with four races - and a maximum of 100 points - remaining.
Crutchlow looked to be on course for a decisive fifth win of the season having been in charge of the race from the second lap, the championship leader setting a series of fastest laps to pile on the margin over closest rival Joan Lascorz. However, it was all to no avail, Crutchlow slowing midway around the 15th lap before cruising into his first retirement of the season.
His demise, however, would go on to prompt an outstanding race finale as four riders disputed what had now been upgraded to race victory.
Having faded into the clutches of Foret and Katsuaki Fujiwara, Lascorz was doing his best remain in contention, the Kawasaki rider initially losing out to Foret, only to snatch what was now the lead on the final lap of the race.
However, with Foret, Fujiwara and now Anthony West, the Australian launching a remarkable charge up the order during the latter stages, all in close company, the quartet jostled for position in each of Brno's sweeping bends.
As they made their way up the hill for the final time, it was West who had forged his way into the lead, ahead of Lascorz and Foret, who himself had only just managed to resist a barrage of passing attempts by Fujiwara earlier in the lap.
However, despite the Stiggy Honda rider's best attempts, he couldn't do anything about an inspired late lunge from Foret into the final bend, the Frenchman moving up two positions to claim a surprise victory.
Ensuring the Yamaha team still had something to smile about, victory at Brno marks Foret's 12th career Supersport triumph, although it is his first win in over a year.
A slightly disappointed West had to make do with second position, a great performance on a day when the Honda CBR600RR didn't seem a match for Yamaha or Kawasaki.
Lascorz held on for the final podium position, just edging out stalwart team-mate Fujiwara. Although not quite the win either rider had been hoping for as they entered the final lap, third and fourth marks Kawasaki's best combined Supersport performance for more than two years.
Well behind the fight for victory, Laverty will be frustrated at not being able to take full advantage of Crutchlow's retirement, but 11 points for fifth place still represents a significant inroad at the end of what has been a tricky weekend for the Parkalgar Honda rider.
Beyond the leaders, Sheridan Morais put in a remarkable performance on his World Supersport debut, the South African finishing sixth for the Yamaha YZF team after taking on, and beating, Massimo Roccoli and Kenan Sofuoglu in a straight fight.
The former Superstock front runner even managed to get the better of Garry McCoy in the latter stages, the Triumph rider keeping the points ticking over in eighth, behind Roccoli, while Sofuoglu had to persevere with ninth having made minimal progress from his 14th place starting position.
By contrast, Andrew Pitt's rise through the ranks was more impressive, going from 24th to tenth, although it wasn't enough for him to retain his WSS crown, the 100 point deficit to Crutchlow now ensuring there will be no back-to-back title win this year.
Elsewhere, Michael Laverty scored his first points for the Echo CRS Honda team in 13th position, behind Barry Veneman and Danilo Dell'Omo, while Gianluca Nannelli and Jesco Gunther completed the top 15.