The latest and 12th round of the World Supersport Championship in Imola, Italy, saw the Parkalgar- Honda rider Miguel Praia achieve his best-ever finish in that class in taking the chequered flag in ninth place after having started in 13th on the grid.
Even more spectacular in difficult conditions – there were delays to the practice and qualifying sessions while additional grip was applied to the track – proved the performance of Praia’s team mate and Algarve title contender Eugene Laverty.
On the second row in seventh after qualifying, the 22-year-old Northern Irishman coped admirably with a race split into a two-part aggregate contest after oil had made the track unraceable. Always handily placed, the unquestioned star newcomer of the year then benefitted from only championship rival and current overall leader by a slender two points, England’s Cal Crutchlow, crashing his Yamaha out of the race.
With only two laps to complete, Laverty took the runner-up spot behind Kenan Sufuoglu’s almost identical Honda CBR 600RR setting up a nail biting conclusion to the 2009 season.
The penultimate confrontation between the Algarve representative and Crutchlow will take place as soon as this Sunday in Magny Cours before the grande finale at his Portimao home track on October 25.