Eugene Laverty overcame his three championship rivals to take the opening victory of the day at Istanbul Park. The four title contenders were dominant at the front of the race but Laverty eventually prevailed, overtaking Tom Sykes seven laps from the finish before easing away to victory.
Laverty made his move coming over the crest towards turn twelve, outbraking Sykes’ Kawasaki into the left handed hairpin and the Irishman wouldn’t be troubled from there. Instead, Sykes had to play defensive as a charging Marco Melandri approached behind him. A lap after pushing past Sylvain Guintoli, Melandri was all over Sykes and after a failed attempt to take second in the switchback hairpins at the end of the lap, the Italian made the move stick into turn one.
With the championship on the line, Sykes was in no mood to allow Guintoli past and after a thrilling fight over the last two laps, the Yorkshireman held on for third. Guintoli did briefly edge ahead at turn twelve but the Aprilia’s braking had been left marginally too late, handing the final podium place and three extra points back to Sykes.
Davide Giugliano took fifth in a dramatic battle with Toni Elias which saw the two clash exiting the last corner, sending the Spaniard dangerously close to crashing into the pitwall. The SBK debutant held on to his Aprilia and opened his account with sixth ahead of Jules Cluzel and Chaz Davies while the two PATA Hondas enjoyed a similar last corner barging match to the Aprilias ahead, Leon Haslam getting the better of new teammate Michel Fabrizio for ninth.