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Lowes handed win after Sofuoglu penalty
1 July 2012 CLICK HERE
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Sam Lowes has taken his second World Supersport Championship win of the season at Motorland Aragon after first-on-the-road Kenan Sofuoglu was demoted from first to fifth by a penalty for a bizarre mid-race confrontation with Fabien Foret.
A confusing conclusion to an otherwise enjoyable five-way scrap for victory, Lowes had recovered from a poor start to work his way back into contention, but while he led for much of the race's second-half, he would opt to give second-best to Sofuoglu in the knowledge that the Kawasaki rider wouldn't be permitted to keep the win.
Indeed, the story of the race was undoubtedly the fracas between Sofuoglu and Foret on lap 13 when the Turk pulled alongside down the back straight and appeared to jerk his head and his bike directly towards his fellow Kawasaki rider.
Though they didn't make contact, the bizarre reaction – for which the reason isn't clear - caught the attention of race direction, who quickly administered a penalty that stipulated Sofuoglu must drop back three positions.
However, with just four laps remaining, Sofuoglu, now ahead of Foret in second place, continued his march up the order and moved back into the lead, where he would remain to the chequered flag. Proceeding to celebrate his 'win' before riding into the winners' enclosure, the results were officially declared with Sofuoglu in fifth place, which represented the three place drop from the second place he held at the time of the penalty.
Sofuoglu's demotion thus elevated Lowes into first position, the skirmish behind him overshadowing what was an impressive ride up the order from a low of eighth in the opening stages, the Briton giving his title hopes a boost with his second victory of the year.
A somewhat bemused Foret, who declined to comment much on the affair in the post-race press conference, held on for second position, the Frenchman just resisting the feisty Sheridan Morais, who inherited a well-deserved maiden podium result. Even so, the South African, who claimed the fastest lap, will rue his error of running wide at the hairpin on lap 12 whilst in the midst of the victory battle.
Broc Parkes took fourth having tailed the lead group without making much of an impression on it, ahead of Sofuoglu, whose fifth place means he retains a 16 point advantage in the standings, now over Lowes.
Indeed, Sofuoglu always stood to benefit in the race after his erstwhile closest challenger Jules Cluzel crashed out of second place on lap three, the pole sitter losing the front of his PTR Honda at turn 14.
Behind the contentious top five battle, Ronan Quarmby got the better of Vittorio Iannuzzo after a race-long battle for sixth position, while Jed Metcher consolidated his strong qualifying performance to cross the line in eighth as the top Yamaha rider.
Making impressive gains in only his second World Supersport race, Gabor Talmacsi was ninth, while Josh Day completed his first top ten finish of the season on the GoEleven Kawasaki.
A race of high attrition, just 16 riders finished on the lead lap, with Romain Lanusse, Luca Marconi, Raffaele de Rosa, Fabio Menghi and Roberto Tamburini making up the remaining point scorers.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Misano podium winner Alex Baldolini, who saw his perfect scoring record ended by a fall, while Andrea Antonelli also suffered a spectacular crash from his Bike Service Yamaha.
The race had to be restarted after original start saw Mathew Scholtz fail to get off the line, the unsighted South African proceeding to be collected at considerable speed Yves Polzer. Though Scholtz was able to walk away, Polzer has been taken to the medical centre for checks.