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Leandro Mercado is celebrating his first FIM Superstock 1000 Cup victory at the Nurburgring after doggedly battling back against series leader Sylvain Barrier in an exciting last lap exchange.
With only three rounds of the Superstock 1000 series remaining, Barrier – winner of the last four races - came into the German race with a genuine shot at wrapping up the title early over closest rival Niccolo Canepa.
However, despite qualifying on pole position the Frenchman would give himself plenty of work in the opening laps as a poor start and questionable wide line around the first bend left him as low as ninth position at one stage.
Instead it was the riders on the second row that would burst forth into the lead with some-time SSTK rider Matthieu Lussiana nosing his ASPI Kawasaki in front, followed by Pedercini Kawasaki's Mercado and Ondrej Jezek on the SK Energy Panigale.
It wouldn't take long for the regular front runners to move towards the front though, with Mercado and Canepa quickly establishing themselves in the first two positions, with Jeremy Guarnoni and a recovering Barrier chasing them in third and fourth respectively.
With Mercado holding firm in the lead – save for a brief moment when Canepa passed at turn one, only to run wide -, Barrier would begin to make his play for the win, passing Guarnoni on lap five before dispatching of Canepa at on lap seven.
Coming up against a rider that has only ever won two Superstock 1000 podiums, it was expected that Barrier would quickly find his way past the Argentinian. However, Mercado would put up a robust defence of the position, rebuffing Barrier repeatedly to keep himself ahead.
Indeed, even when Barrier did eventually make a move stick into the NGK chicane on lap eight of eleven, Mercado would simply mirror the same pass a lap later to get back in front.