Cal Crutchlow has taken a debut World Supersport win at Valencia - and the joint 2009 title lead - after a close victory over Anthony West.

Rookie Crutchlow, who took his debut WSS podium at the previous Qatar round, had qualified his factory-backed R6 on pole for round three, but a damp start to the race saw the Englishman slip back to fifth at the end of a nervous opening lap for the 600cc field.

The BSB race winner soon began forcing his way forward, his powerful Yamaha helping him take the lead briefly on lap four as a three-way battle developed with home hero Joan Lascorz and Stiggy Honda's Anthony West.

Lascorz began slipping backwards by lap seven, and later made a pit stop, but was replaced in the lead group by former champion Kenan Sofuoglu, who had lined up just eleventh on the grid.

Crutchlow and West battled for the remainder of the race, while Phillip Island winner Sofuoglu - making his debut on the 2009 CBR600RR - was forced to settle for a safe third.

Former MotoGP rider and double WSS race winner West was leading Crutchlow as the last lap began, but the Briton calmly drafted past the Australian along the home straight and quickly pulled a vital few bike-lengths on the Stiggy rider.

Crutchlow's victory looked assured, but Cal gave the Yamaha team a scare by running deep into the final turn - although he quickly recovered and crossed the line 0.171sec ahead of West. Sofuoglu brought his Ten Kate Honda home eight seconds later.

Crutchlow and Sofuoglu are now tied at the top of the World Championship standings on 54 points apiece - with Qatar winner Eugene Laverty, reigning champion Andrew Pitt and West tied in third, eleven points behind.

After struggling in qualifying, Laverty and Pitt lost further ground on the opening lap to be ranked just 16th and 19th. Laverty eventually fought his way up to ninth for Parkalgar Honda, while Pitt could get no higher than 13th for Ten Kate.

Valencia race results

1. Crutchlow
2. West
3. Sofuoglu
4. Aitchison
5. Fujiwara
6. Lagrive
7. Pirro
8. Veneman
9. Laverty
10. Foret
11. Vizziello
12. Harms
13. Pitt
14. Roccoli
15. Pradita
16. Vostarek
17. Vos
18. Praia
19. Lascorz
20. Guerra
21. Lai


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