Kenan Sofuoglu signalled his intentions for 2009 with a comfortable victory on his return to World Supersport competition in Portugal.
Although it was a win from pole position, the race was by no means plain sailing for the reigning WSS champion after a dismal first few laps left him down as low as sixth place.
However, a mid-race fight-back, coupled to a slipstreaming move that saw him cruise up from fourth to first in one go, was enough to ensure that he would mark his Supersport return with the best result possible.
An entertaining race that saw a total of five different leaders at various points in the race, Sofuoglu led into the first corner, but a mistake put him on the back foot in the early stages.
Instead, new champion Andrew Pitt and Barry Veneman shared the lead over the first few laps, while Joan Lascorz and Josh Hayes all enjoyed stints at the front too.
However, Sofuoglu simply stalked his way back into contention, passing for the lead on lap nine and going on to set some scintillating lap times. He would eventually finish almost four seconds up on his Ten Kate team-mate Pitt.
After Veneman crashed out mid-race, the battle for the final podium spot was hotly contested between Lascorz and Hayes. Hayes had looked as though he was comfortable to score a third place finish around the Parkalgar team's home circuit, but Lascorz reeled him in as they diced over the final few laps.
Lascorz himself was on a charge after a mistake dropped him well off the pack on lap eight, but he did enough to edge Hayes by a mere four hundredths of a second at the finish line.
Yamaha's Broc Parkes ran well early on but faded to fifth, although he had the honour of being the only non-Honda rider inside the top eight. Sixth and seventh were filled by Gianluca Nannelli and Simone Sanna, the latter doing a fine job on his Supersport debut with Parkalgar, while the eighth place Honda fell to Gianluca Vizziello.
Mark Aitchison was ninth in the leading Triumph, while the still recovering Fabien Foret worked his way up to tenth place.
Meanwhile, a lacklustre 11th for future HM Plant Honda BSB rider Joshua Brookes means he failed to snatch second off Jonathan Rea in the overall standings.
Sole Brit Chris Martin finished 24th in the final race for the Gil Kawasaki.