Eugene Laverty heads into the final two rounds of the 2013 World Superbike Championship as Tom Sykes's new closest challenger for the title after a third win in four races saw him nose ahead of team-mate Sylvain Guintoli for the first time since round one.

Laverty has been in stellar form of late, the Irishman coming to Laguna Seca with momentum on his side following his recent double victory at Istanbul Park, confidence he displayed in race one with two last lap passes that rewarded him with a third place finish.

Looking to go better in race two, Laverty led initially before being bumped down to third by the charging Sykes and Davide Giugliano, but came on strong again in the final race to aggressively force his way back past both riders in the final laps to grab an 'unexpected' victory.

A seventh win of the season, the result lifts the in-form Laverty past Aprilia counterpart Guintoli in the standings for the first time since this year's curtain raiser in February and leaves him 23 points adrift of leader Sykes, much to his delight.

"This was anything but an easy race. In the first race I struggled quite a bit to keep up with the front runners and I managed to finish on the podium by overtaking twice in the last lap.

"I want to thank my team because we worked a lot on the bike and took a big step forward that allowed me to ride better in spite of the grip issues. I pushed hard from the first to the last lap and Davide (Giugliano) and Tom (Sykes) didn't make this win an easy one!"

Looking ahead to what promises to be a thrilling climax to the year, Laverty says he needs to continue giving 100 per cent in order to keep himself involved to the final moments.

"This is a result that I really didn't expect which now takes me to second place in the rider standings, but we have two very different rounds ahead of us. I struggled last year at Magny Cours, but my RSV4 has grown a lot so things could change, whereas Jerez is our test track so I could have an advantage there.

"In any case I'll need to give 100 per cent in every session for the next two weekends. I'd like to dedicate my win to my engineer Marco Bertolatti who became a father just a few hours ago."



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