Though it was one title that didn't need deciding coming into the final event of the season, the 2012 World Supersport Championship has once again lived up to its lofty billing for thrills, spills and the odd controversy this year.

With reigning champion Chaz Davies and runner-up David Salom both World Superbike-bound in 2012, the door opened up for new front runners to emerge, but in the end it was a recognisable face that would complete the season with the biggest smile.

Back in the championship he won in 2007 and 2010, while Kenan Sofuoglu's Moto2 endeavour may have prompted a retreat to more familiar surroundings for 2012, he at least did so with the new challenge of spearheading Kawasaki's renewed factory effort, this time run by Lorenzini Racing.

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Taking no time to get acquainted with the ZX-6R, Sofuoglu was a winner in his first race at Phillip Island, a feat he achieved on a further three occasions as he steadily edged away from his competitors.

Indeed, excellent consistency was key to him sealing the title with one round to spare at Portimao, even if his 2012 title campaign will also be remembered for his questionable on-track conduct, namely his antics at Imola, Motorland Aragon and even in the final race at Magny-Cours, all races where he incurred the wrath of the stewards.

Beyond that, the 2012 season saw a potential Supersport star born in ex-Moto2 rider Jules Cluzel. The Frenchman was originally supposed to ride a Kawasaki run by WTR 10Ten Racing, but parted ways before the season even got underway.

Handed an eleventh hour deal by PTR Honda, Cluzel subsequently flourished, scoring four race wins to secure the runners-up spot, even ahead of anticipated team leader Sam Lowes.

Despite some frustrating crashes at inopportune moments, Lowes was still able to record his first wins on the way to third overall, ahead of veteran Fabien Foret, who showed glimpses of his best at times on the privately funded Intermoto Step Kawasaki.

Ten Kate Honda's Broc Parkes struggled to live up to his title contender status as he failed to win a race on the way to fifth, while Sheridan Morais proved he belongs in the Supersport ranks as he climbed the podium once for sixth on the second of the Lorenzini Kawasakis.

Proving there is still form in the three-cylinder Triumph 675 Daytona, Alex Baldolini made it onto the podium at Misano aboard the Suriano-prepared machine as he finished seventh overall, while team-mate Vittorio Iannuzzo followed him up in ninth.

By the end of the season, five riders would share the victory spoils across the 13 races, including Lorenzo Lanzi, whose one-off outing for ProRace Honda led to a remarkable win in the wet Assen, but no further outings.

Furthermore, eleven riders would score podiums in 2012, including Vladimir Leonov, who took a famous third place finish for Yakhnich Yamaha at Assen and on home soil in Moscow, while Dan Linfoot's rostrum at the final round is a timely boost for the burgeoning MSD RN Kawasaki outfit.

In the manufacturers' standings, Honda's greater win ratio over Kawasaki (7 to 6) secured them an eighth title in ten seasons, while Triumph got the better of Yamaha in third despite having only two full-time entrants on the grid.

2012 World Supersport Championship rider standings

1. Kenan Sofuoglu Lorenzini Kawasaki 231 points
2. Jules Cluzel PTR Honda 210
3. Sam Lowes Bogdanka PTR Honda 172
4. Fabien Foret Intermoto Step Kawasaki 171
5. Broc Parkes Ten Kate Honda 135
6. Sheridan Morais Lorenzini Kawasaki 96
7. Alex Baldolini Suriano Triumph 96
8. Ronan Quarmby PTR Honda 84
9. Vittorio Iannuzzo Suriano Triumph 60
10. Andrea Antonelli Lorini Honda/Bike Service Yamaha 60
11. Vladimir Leonov Yakhnich Yamaha 52
12. Roberto Tamburini Lorini Honda 50
13. Gabor Talmacsi ProRace Honda 44
14. Jed Metcher RivaMoto Yamaha 40
15. Massimo Roccoli Bike Service Yamaha/PATA by Martini Yamaha 30
16. Mathew Scholtz Bogdanka PTR Honda 28
17. Lorenzo Lanzi ProRace Honda 25
18. Dan Linfoot MSD RN Kawasaki 25
19. Romain Lanusse Intermoto Step Kawasaki 25
20. Imre Toth Toth Hungary Honda 19
21. Stefano Cruciani Puccetti Kawasaki 19
22. Balazs Nemeth Toth Hungary Honda 17
23. Luca Marconi VFT Yamaha 16
24. Raffaele de Rosa Lorini Honda 15
25. Joshua Day GoEleven Kawasaki 14
26. Florian Marino MSD RN Kawasaki 14
27. Glen Richards Smiths Gloucester Triumph 11
28. Valentin Debise SMS Honda 10
29. David Linotner GERIN-SKM Yamaha 8
30. Twan Van Poppel TRG Yamaha 8
31. Billy McConnell Smiths Gloucester Triumph 7
32. Stuart Voskamp Konvi Suzuki 6
33. Lukas Pesek ProRace Honda 6
34. Thomas Caiani KUJA Honda 4
35. Patrick Jacobsen Bogdanka Honda 3
36. Fabio Menghi VFT Yamaha 3
37. Dino Lombardi PATA by Martini Yamaha 2
38. Kieran Clarke Bogdanka PTR Honda 2
39. Luke Mossey Smiths Gloucester Triumph 1
40. Martin Jessopp Riders PTR Honda 1

2012 World Supersport Championship manufacturer standings

1. Honda 287 points
2. Kawasaki 273
3. Triumph 125
4. Yamaha 110
5. Suzuki 6