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.
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.