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Sylvain Barrier has gotten the defence of his FIM Superstock 1000 Cup title off to a perfect start with a comfortable victory in the opening round of the season at Motorland Aragon.
The hot favourite coming into the race having topped each practice and qualifying session over the course of the weekend, Barrier was initially made to work hard when a poor start saw him cede the advantage to Niccolo Canepa through the opening bends.
However, after settling in behind the Barni Ducati 1199 Panigale, Barrier simply bided his time before planting a move into the turn 16 hairpin at the end of the back straight on lap five.
From here the BMW GoldBet rider was untroubled, extended his advantage over the remaining seven laps to cross the line more than three seconds ahead of Canepa, the Italian picking up a podium finish in his first race since breaking his leg at the Nurburgring last season when he was racing in World Superbikes.
Another former WSBK rider, Leandro Mercado made it three manufacturers on the podium in third place, the Pedercini Kawasaki rider benefiting from team-mate Lorenzo Savadori sliding off in front of him on lap seven.
Regarded as Barrier's biggest threats for the title, Jeremy Guarnoni and Eddi La Marra found themselves fairly off the pace in fourth position, though the former would at least get the satisfaction of snatching the place from last year's runner-up on the final lap.
In what was a fairly uneventful opener for the Superstock class, Romain Lanusse picked up a solid sixth place finish on his Superstock 1000 debut, ahead of Ondrej Jezek on his Ducati and Marco Bussolotti on the Trasimeno BMW, while local wild-card Enrqiue Ferrer and newcomer Greg Gildenhuys would go on to the complete the top ten.