Eugene Laverty defied pre-race predictions to take a commanding second World Supersport victory of the season at Assen, a result that goes a long to lifting him back into title contention.

The Irishman looked to have a challenge on his hands when faced with Kenan Sofuoglu, the Ten Kate Honda rider having topped each practice and qualifying session by a fair margin prior to the race.

However, while the Turk got the best start from pole position, bold moves by both Laverty and Joan Lascorz on lap three would turn the formbook on its head as Sofuoglu never got himself into a good position to respond.

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Instead, the battle for the win would come down to Laverty and Lascorz, who embarked on a fierce tussle as they disputed the lead, the pair even briefly making contact as they entered into the final corner chicane on lap seven.

Setting a hot pace as Laverty, Lascorz, Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret pulled away with laps over a second faster than the chasing pack, the top four would be reduced to three on lap 14 when Foret's hopes of an excellent result of the Loreznini Kawasaki were scuppered by a technical issue, one that caused him to fall without injury.

Back at the front, Laverty's win would become all but assured on lap 16 when Lascorz got out of shape on the run into turn one and was forced to run wide, the Spaniard losing several seconds in the process.

Giving Laverty the room to focus ahead, the Parkalgar Honda rider would simply push on to complete victory by almost three seconds.

Just behind, Lascorz embarked on a superb comeback ride to catch and pass Sofuoglu on the final lap, the Kawasaki rider extending his lead in the overall standings to eight points over the Turk in the process. Additionally though, after a disappointing weekend at Portimao and Valencia, Laverty is 19 points adrift of Lascorz himself.

Well behind the top three, Chaz Davies put in another notable result to finish fourth for Triumph, the Welshman holding off charging team-mate Matthieu Lagrive at the chequered flag after the Frenchman had dropped to a lowly 12th early on.

Robbin Harms enjoyed a strong race in sixth on his eponymous Honda, while a fourth consecutive top ten finish for Gino Rea in seventh keeps him looking strong in the overall standings.

Supersport veterans Katsuaki Fujiwara, Massimo Roccoli and Miguel Praia completed the top ten positions.

Further back, beyond Foret, there was disappointment for Michele Pirro on the second Ten Kate Honda, who crashed out on lap three, while David Salom was another to fall after failing to keep his bike upright when he ran off at turn one.