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Eddi La Marra has given his FIM Superstock 1000 Championship title hopes a major boost by claiming a timely first victory at Silverstone to consolidate his comfortable advantage in the overall standings.
Having finished no lower than fourth in any race this season, La Marra came into the seventh race of ten with a sizeable 19 point advantage over Sylvain Barrier, despite having not yet tasted the winners' champagne in 23 career starts.
Nonetheless, the Italian made his intentions known early on as he sprinted out of the blocks from third on the grid, the Barni Ducati rider nosing into an early lead from fellow front row sitter Jeremy Guarnoni, while pole position man Barrier's poor getaway consigned him to sixth.
Even with the perfect start, La Marra was made to work very hard for his victory as he became locked in a race long duel with Guarnoni, another rider seeking his first win at SSTK 1000 level.
Indeed, the Frenchman, who has won two podiums since switching to the MRS Kawasaki team three rounds ago, was quick to stamp his mark on the race by taking the lead on lap one and then again more decisively on lap three after La Marra fought back on lap two.
However, while Guarnoni was able to stretch his advantage initially, La Marra would reel him in again by lap six of ten, getting through into the lead at Maggotts. What followed was an entertaining back-and-forth between the pair as they swapped the lead a further three times before La Marra made a pass stick on lap seven.
It would prove the defining moment of the race as La Marra was able to defend Guarnoni over the remaining three laps to cross the line as a SSTK 1000 race winner for the first time in his burgeoning career.
Crucially, it means La Marra has opened up a fairly comprehensive lead in the standings and now commands a 31 point lead over Barrier with only three races and a maximum of 75 points remaining.
Notching up his third consecutive podium finish, Guarnoni crossed the line second to move himself into contention for the runners-up spot, though with Bryan Staring and Barrier finishing third and fourth respectively, he remains fourth overall. Currently the trio have 88, 86 and 82 points in the order of Barrier, Staring and Guarnoni.
A fine performance by Staring, the Australian – a winner at Aragon and Brno – started only 14th, but made swift gains to tackle Barrier for a podium finish, the Pedercini rider eventually getting the nod over the Frenchman.
Behind them, local favourite Kev Coghlan held his starting position to finish in a career-best fifth place on the DMC Ducati 1199 Panigale, ahead of Christoffer Bergman, who overtook Ondrej Jezek on the final lap to claim sixth.
On his return to the Superstock class, Leandro Mercado was a solid eighth place, ahead of Markus Reiterberger and Fabio Massei, while Robbie Brown just missed out on the top ten in 11th in only his second SSTK 1000 event.
Alen Gyorfi, Randy Pagaud, Andrzej Chmielewski and Massimo Parziani completed the points' paying positions after Lorenzo Savadori retired with mechanical problems and front row starter Matthieu Lussiana crashed out of sixth place.