Cal Crutchlow will switch to World Superbikes in 2010 as the reigning World Supersport Champion after doing what he needed to do to wrap up the title at the final round in Portugal.
Crutchlow went into the weekend as the champion-elect having pulled out a 19 point advantage over sole rival Eugene Laverty, the Briton requiring just a top ten finish to come away with the title.
Although Laverty did his best with a dominant victory on the Parkalgar Honda, Crutchlow favoured caution, keeping a safe distance behind Kenan Sofuoglu before demoting himself to fourth behind the charging Triumph of Garry McCoy.
Following the Australian over the finish line, fourth was more than enough for Crutchlow to secure his place in history by becoming the first non-Ten Kate Honda rider since 2001 to take the Supersport title.
“Fourth is the worst finish I've had this year! Obviously I've had a couple of DNFs but when I've finished fourth has been the worst. I just wanted to bring it home. I didn't need to push Eugene.
“He's been riding really well all weekend and keeping the pressure on me. I didn't want to get into any battles, I followed Kenan at the start but his pace was just too fast so I let him go. I let Gary past then settled in behind him and let him bring me home for the race so thank to him.”
Crutchlow's World Superbike career begins in earnest this week when he takes to the title-winning R1 alongside James Toseland in preparation for 2010.
“It's been a tough season and all credit to Yamaha they've done a fantastic job, I'm elated! I want to thank the team and all my sponsors for their support, and my family, my dad and my mum and Lucy my girlfriend who has put up with me!”
One of three world titles Yamaha are able to celebrate on one weekend, Yamaha SSP manager Wilco Zeelenberg was thrilled to finally win the championship after several years of getting close.