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WSS: Cal Crutchlow wins Supersport title
25 October 2009
Cal Crutchlow has been crowned the 2009 World Supersport Champion after his fourth place result in the final race of the season at Portimao proved more than enough to take the title.
Heading into the race needing just a tenth place finish, although Crutchlow shied away from challenging for the victory, his run to fourth sees him become the first non-Ten Kate Honda rider to win the title in seven years.
The race itself was won by the only rider able to challenge Crutchlow, with Eugene Laverty doing exactly what he needed to do in claiming a dominant victory on Parkalgar Honda's home ground.
A race largely devoid of action, particularly compared to many of the epic races that have defined the 2009 season, Laverty got a good start from pole position to take a lead he wouldn't lose into the opening bend.
Followed by Kenan Sofuoglu, Crutchlow would run third initially before being passed by the Kawasaki of Lascorz. The Spaniard would also get the better of Sofuoglu on lap three, but his hopes of overhauling the Turk for third in the standings were dashed just moments later when he crashed out of the race.
By this point, Laverty had opened up a sizeable lead over fellow Honda man Sofuoglu, the Irishman sprinting to the chequered flag to win his fourth race of the season by 3.4secs.
Crutchlow's task, meanwhile, was merely to reach the finish, a strategy he stuck to on lap eight when he refused to get embroiled in a fight with the charging Triumph of Garry McCoy, the Briton preferring to let him into third place.
However, with no rider close enough to challenge him for fourth, Crutchlow was left to simply shadow McCoy, crossing the line to become Britain's first World Supersport champion by seven points.
Despite losing their grip on the Supersport riders' title for the first time since 2001, Laverty and Sofuoglu were nonetheless instrumental in helping Honda to a seventh consecutive manufacturers' crown, 13 points up on Yamaha.
Mark Aitchison put in a fine effort to catch and pass Michele Pirro for fifth position on the Althea Honda, although sixth for the Italian still marks the best result of his maiden season in the category.
Chaz Davies added to Triumph's joy with a measured run to seventh, the former grand prix rider doing his chances of landing a full-time ride with the Italian-run team next year no harm at all.
He finished ahead of former champion Fabien Foret and Barry Veneman, who put in a decent performance on the year-old George White Honda, while local favourite Miguel Praia completed the top ten on the second Parkalgar Honda.
Elsewhere, Andrew Pitt handed over his crown with a whimper by finishing a lowly 11th, just ahead of Colombian newcomer Martin Cardenas. British pair Michael Laverty and Kev Coghlan, meanwhile, completed the points in 14th and 15th.
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