Kyle Smith has ended his first season in the World Supersport Championship as a race winner after feisty ride up the order in Losail was rewarded with a well-deserved win.

Having come into the weekend with the news that PJ Jacobsen will be joining Ten Kate Honda next season - potentially in his place -, Smith began the race with something to prove from fifth on the grid and would do just that as he scythed into contention.

Indeed, based on his vast advantage at the end of qualifying, champion Kenan Sofuoglu had looked a strong bet for victory from pole position, but despite a good start he couldn't shake the attentions of firstly Lucas Mahias and then Lorenzo Zanetti as the trio circulated in close company initially.

Smith, meanwhile, ran fifth for the early laps, bottled up behind fellow Honda rider Jacobsen before eventually getting a move completed on lap six.

With Sofuoglu now leading from Zanetti, Smith made his presence felt by firstly clawing his way past Mahias and immediately setting about challenging the leaders.

Indeed, while it was Zanetti that would relieve Sofuoglu for the lead on lap nine with a familiar pass into turn one, Smith simply followed through and then struck again at turn four to pass the MV Agusta and go out front of the first time.

It was a lead Smith would retain to the chequered flag, resisting Sofuoglu's late - but ultimately flaccid - challenge in the closing laps to cross the line for his maiden win of a rookie season that, whilst occasionally inconsistent, has shown flashes of pace.

Sofuoglu, meanwhile, ensured he got the exit out of the final corner to out-drag Zanetti to the line - in turn securing Kawasaki the constructors' crown -, the Turk ending his record-breaking year with a ninth podium, while Zanetti moves ahead of absent team-mate Jules Cluzel for third overall.

Mahias ended up faded fourth, ahead of a strangely lacklustre Jacobsen, while Nico Terol put in a good pitch for a full-time Supersport ride in 2016 with a run to sixth on the MV Agusta.

Rounding out the top ten, Roberto Rolfo led an Italian quartet of himself, Alex Baldolini, Marco Faccani and Fabio Menghi, while Dominic Schmitter, Sergio Gadea, Nacho Calero, Abdulaziz Binladin and Kevin Manfredi completed the points.

 

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