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Kenan Sofuoglu has taken a significant step towards a third World Supersport Championship title with a commanding victory at the Moscow Raceway.
Starting from second position, the Turk climbed to the head of the field on lap three and proceeded to resist the attentions of the close-following Jules Cluzel over the opening-half of the race before pulling clear in the closing laps to win by more than five seconds.
Coming into the race with a 14 point advantage over Sam Lowes, Sofuoglu always stood to increase the advantage over his closest title challenger after the Bogdanka PTR Honda rider jumped the start and was handed a costly ride-through penalty.
Though Lowes fought hard to get himself back up to 12th place at the finish for four points, Sofuoglu's maximum haul of 25 means the pair are now split by 35 points with three races remaining.
Indeed, Sofuoglu's nearest rival is now Cluzel at 33 points, the Frenchman doing his utmost to keep the pressure on the Kawasaki rider initially before opting to settle for second position and a fifth podium of the year.
With Lowes out of the reckoning, the third step of the podium was assumed by local rider Vladimir Leonov, who delivered a faultless ride on home soil to notch up his second rostrum finish of the year. His performance is made all the more important given it was his Yakhnich Motorsport team that was behind the bid to bring World Superbikes
and Supersport to Russia for the first time this year, the podium finish proving a rich reward for their efforts.
Hampered by a poor start initially, Sheridan Morais worked his way up to fourth position at the chequered flag on the second of the Lorenzini Kawasakis, well ahead of Broc Parkes, who led a train of seven riders across the line in fifth place, the Australian edging out Fabien Foret, Andrea Antonelli, Gabor Talmacsi, Roberto Tamburini, Mathew Scholtz and Alex Baldolini.
The recovering Lowes finished 12th, ahead of PTR team-mate Ronan Quarmby, while Florian Marino and Luca Marconi completed the points' paying positions on their respective privateer Kawasaki and Honda machines.