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Bryan Staring has notched up his third FIM Superstock 1000 Championship win of the season at Portimao to help set up a close two-way dice for the title between Sylvain Barrier and Eddi La Marra in France.
A race that began with La Marra leading Barrier by just six points in the overall standings, all eyes were on Barrier to see whether he could turn his dominant qualifying pace into a similarly comprehensive victory.
As it happens, it was La Marra that got away best from the front row to lead initially, whereas Barrier found himself shuffled down to third behind the Ducati rider and Staring.
Nonetheless, Barrier made swift gains to pass both Staring and La Marra for the lead on lap three, and when Staring passed La Marra for second on lap four, it was the BMW Italia rider that was now ahead in the provisional standings.
Worse was to follow for La Marra when he was relieved of third by Jeremy Guarnoni, a result that would potentially leave him six points behind Barrier heading into the final event.
However, despite ascending to the lead, Barrier was struggling to shake off the attentions of Staring, who shadowed him for several laps before getting a better run out of the last corner at the start of the final lap and drafted by.
Though Barrier considered fighting back, the 21-year-old opted to exercise caution and settle for second place in the knowledge that he would surpass La Marra in the standings regardless.
Even so, though La Marra will consider Staring's win a boost since it trimmed five points off Barrier's potential gains, he is unlikely to appreciate having Barni Ducati team-mate Lorenzo Savadori coming past him to demote him to fifth place at the chequered flag.