Eugene Laverty has joined a hallowed circle of World Superbike greats with his remarkable double victory at Monza, just four rounds into his first season of Superbike racing.
The Irishman enjoyed arguably the finest day of his career by defying pre-race predictions to take the fight to Max Biaggi in race one and out-perform the defending champion, the Irishman not putting a wheel wrong as he swept to a relatively comfortable maiden victory.
His win in race two came in very different circumstances, Laverty being delayed early on and being left down in ninth position at the end of the opening lap. However, aided by Biaggi's costly penalty, Laverty worked his way back into contention to trail Yamaha team-mate Marco Melandri into the final lap.
Though it would take Melandri to run wide around the last bend for Laverty to squeeze past, the win nonetheless sees him become one of only a small group of riders to do the double, while even fewer have managed it in their first season of WSBK racing.
“I can't believe I got a double victory today,” he beamed. “I came here aiming for a podium and now I'm coming away with two incredible race wins. It's fantastic!
“That [race one] was a great race, definitely not one of the easiest but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I just kept pushing to the top and my first win couldn't have come at a better place.
“I didn't get off to a good start in the second race. I had to avoid a collision on the first corner, causing me to lose time. I also struggled a little with the tyres in the hot conditions. When it came to the last few laps, I couldn't believe my luck that it was just me and Marco in the lead. This double victory was particularly special to me, being the team's home track.”
Laverty's double victory propels him from ninth to fifth in the overall standings, just four points adrift of Jonathan Rea in fourth position.