Eugene takes positives from frustrating Portimao weekend
Milwaukee Aprilia delivered their best Superpole result of 2017 so far at Portimao, riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori taking P2 and P3 on the grid.
The team had shown promising pace all weekend and were consistently within the top ten in Free Practice. Both riders delivered in the pole shootout session, with blistering laps that put them on the front row together for the first time and behind only series leader Rea.
Race One proved more difficult for the team, as both Aprilia RSV4 RFs struggled with rear tyres that were losing grip throughout the race. Eugene and Lorenzo diced with Davies and Melandri for second, third and fourth, in the opening laps, defending well but ultimately lacking the rear grip to mount a serious attack or defence.
After slipping to P7 and P8 respectively, Eugene and Lorenzo were able to bring their bikes home for solid top ten points finishes and some invaluable race data for the team to analyse.
Race Two saw Eugene and Lorenzo start in good second row positions from P4 and P5. Eugene beat Van der Mark off the line to take third, and by lap three had moved to second after a strong pass on the inside of Camier.
Eugene defended well against the rapid Davies in third, before being passed on lap six. As he struggled with rear grip again he lost third to Van der Mark, but a much-improved setup allowed him to maintain his pace and come home fourth for his best result of 2017.
The team will test at Portimao on the Monday after the race, and use the opportunity to build on the clear progress they have made this weekend as they head into the last three rounds of WorldSBK 2017.
Eugene Laverty #50
Race 1: Grid – P2 Finish – P7, 9 points
Race 2: Grid – P4 Finish – P4, 13 points
“Superpole was great and the bike was good for the whole session, and one lap in particular. We were really strong then and we knew we could be this weekend.
Race One was disappointing, and I knew from the start that it was going to be tough on the rear. The guys coming past me still had rear grip which made it difficult to defend, so that’s an area we had to improve on.
Race Two was definitely better for us. I was worried about the rear dropping off after a few laps like in Race One, but today but we put up a good fight and fourth was a good result.
The steps we made overnight were huge and morning warm up was fantastic. We lost a bit of pace and grip in the hotter conditions this afternoon, but I was much happier with today and we have a reason for optimism.
For Monday’s test we’ll be pursuing the same direction we’ve been following for the last few rounds. That has worked and is improving for us, and I think we will be in stronger position next time out at Magny-Cours.”