Superbike World Championship: Eugene Laverty wins opening race of season in Australia
Last Updated: 23/02/14 11:52am
Eugene Laverty: Stunning triumph for Suzuki
Irishman Eugene Laverty earned Suzuki its first victory since 2010 with a sensational triumph in the opening World Superbike race of the 2014 season.
Laverty made it a personal hat-trick in Philip Island - he won the last two races of last season at Jerez - but technical problems meant he missed out in race two which was won by Sylvain Guintoli.
Laverty's winter move to Suzuki is already paying dividends - his debut race with his new team saw him roar to a stunning victory, clawing his way back from seventh after the first lap.
He battled past Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rae and then caught up with the front-runners, showing blistering race pace.
He passed Ducati's Davide Giugliano, Marco Melandri and then Guintoli to take the lead on the 17th lap, and he never looked back.
Malandri held off Guintoli to take second place, whilst Giugliano finished fourth.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) pipped Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) to take fifth whilst reigning champion Tom Sykes came in seventh.
Laverty's super day ended in a race two when his engine failed. In his absence Guintoli took advantage, with Loris Baz and Sykes finishing second and third.
Giugliano was fourth again followed by Rea and his fellow Brit Leon Haslam.