Eugene Laverty showed excellent defensive riding to claim a memorable first World Superbike victory in the first race of the day at Monza

The Irishman took the lead at the start of the second lap and resisted countless attempts from Max Biaggi to deprive him of the lead, winning by 1.575 seconds.

Troy Corser made the best start from the inside of the front row to lead through the first chicane, but both Laverty and Biaggi slipstreamed past him on the run to the same corner second time around.

The race then became a head-to-head duel between the front two, with Laverty's late braking countering the straight line speed of the Alitalia Aprilia.

Even when Biaggi did gain the upper hand, he surrendered it back again. On laps three and six, the World Champion breezed past the Yamaha on the start/finish straight but mistakes at the Variante della Roggia allowed Laverty back past. As their battle raged on, Leon Haslam and the second Yamaha of Marco Melandri brought themselves into play, creating a four way battle for the lead.

Frustration began to show by half distance as further errors began to creep into Biaggi's riding. On lap 11, the Italian left his braking too late into the Variante del Rettifilio with Haslam and Melandri demoting him to fourth.

Biaggi fought his way back into second but made similar mistakes at the Roggia on each of the next two laps. Again, he soon retook second but these issues provided Laverty with a 1.8 second lead out front.

That advantage proved enough for Laverty to coast home to victory, despite nearly losing control of the YZF R1 entering the Parabolica on the final lap.

Biaggi was forced to settle for second for the fourth time this year, while Haslam edged out Melandri for the final podium position.

Michel Fabrizio overcame a poor start to take a comfortable fifth, equalling his best result of the season so far on the Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Jonathan Rea also had to fight his way through the field. The Castrol Honda rider couldn't translate a front row start into a podium position but he did get the better of Troy Corser, snatching sixth on the penultimate lap.

Leon Camier did his Aprilia Alitalia teammate a huge favour by taking eighth, a tenth of a second ahead of championship leader Carlos Checa. The Spaniard showed the fighting qualities of a potential champion but the Ducatis lack of grunt proved too difficult a hurdle to overcome.

Tom Sykes scored points for Kawasaki in thirteenth but James Toseland didn't take part after the pain in his wrist proved too much for 18 laps around Monza.

Race Result: 18 Laps:

Pos Rider Team Gap Points
1 Eugene Laverty Yamaha World Superbike Team 18 Laps 25
2 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team +1.575 20
3 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport +3.078 16
4 Marco Melandri Yamaha World Superbike Team +3.255 13
5 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare +11.812 11
6 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda +12.371 10
7 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad Motorsport +13.280 9
8 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team +17.419 8
9 Carlos Checa Althea Racing +17.569 7
10 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing +18.420 6
11 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team +20.031 5
12 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing +20.405 4
13 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +26.693 3
14 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Team +38.429 2
15 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda +40.164 1
16 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia +49.081
17 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini +57.930
18 Fabrizio Lai Echo Sport Racing Company +1:03.039
Joan Lascorz Kawasaki Racing Team +9 Laps
Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini +12 Laps
James Toseland BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team Non Starter
Chris Vermeulen Kawasaki Racing Team Non Starter