"It may be British Superbikes but I am thinking of it as a World Superbike Championship…that's how much this championship means to me,” the former World Superbike campaigner said.
Despite winning the first of two races on the day, and holding a 25 point lead going into the season finale, the Spaniard wasn’t assured the title. HM Plant’s Ryuichi Kiyonari could have clinched the crown if he’d won the final race and Lavilla had scored zero points. The day would have ended in a tie with Kiyonari winning by virtue of more victories: He would have had 13 to Lavilla’s seven.
But Lavilla made it a moot point by slotting in behind teammate Leon Haslam from start to finish in the second race. The margin of victory for Haslam’s third win of the year was 1.908 seconds.
Third went to Hydrex Honda’s Steve Plater, at a distance of nearly 19 seconds with Kiyonari a close fourth on the factory Honda.
The crown goes to Lavilla by 32 points, 461 to 429. The top British rider is Michael Rutter in third with 371 points.
In the first race, Lavilla took the lead from teammate Haslam on lap five and won by .312 seconds.
Rizla Suzuki’s James Haydon scored his best finish of the year in third, barely a tenth of a second in front of Kiyonari. Hawk Kawasaki’s Dean Thomas was a few tenths back in fifth.
Lavilla earned the title with a strong finish and consistency throughout. Kiyonari looked set to make it a runaway with victories in the first four races on the HRC-backed Honda CBR1000RR, with Michelin tires. But he followed that with four DNF’s in a row before regaining his footing.
Lavilla, who raced on a Ducati 999F04 on Dunlops, had two DNFs in the first eight races, then only one for the final 18. In the last 11 races, he finished no worse than second, winning five times. His worst finish, other than his three DNF’s, was a fifth in the first race at Knockhill.
Airwaves Ducati team principal Darrell Healey said, "Winning the British Championship for the third time has been a tremendous achievement by all concerned. To return after a year away from competitive racing and to take on the might of HRC Honda with F04 Ducatis has been a truly awesome feat.”