Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes fought 'bar-to-'bar for the final podium place on the last lap of Friday's opening WorldSBK race at the Qatar season finale.

Lowes shadowed the Irishman for much of the race, then launched an attack for third behind the Kawasaki duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes early on the final lap.

Laverty retaliated, despite a 'destroyed' front tyre, but Lowes sent his Yamaha successful up the inside under braking once again.

The Aprilia rider then focussed on trying to get a better exit from the final turn, but was lucky to avoid crashing out.

"A good race in all," Laverty said. "The pace was incredibly fast. I didn't expect to do so many '57s, then I was maintaining a nice rhythm in the low '58s towards the end, but unfortunately with six laps to go the front tyre was destroyed.

"I tried to manage my pace and tried to hang on but unfortunately on the last lap Lowes caught me and we overtook each other a few times.

"The right side of my tyre was finished and I almost crashed in the last corner. At least I stayed on the bike and brought it home in fourth. I think I left everything on the track, as the Americans would say."

Fourth place means Laverty will start his final race with the SMR team from pole position on Saturday, alongside Marco Melandri (Ducati) and Loris Baz (BMW).




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