Eugene takes seventh place in difficult Qatar race 2
Milwaukee Aprilia experienced a difficult Race 2 at the 2017 WorldSBK finale in Qatar, Eugene Laverty scoring the team 9 points in P7.
Eugene and teammate Lorenzo Savadori started the race P1 and P2 after strong rides to P4 ad P5. Eugene made a rapid getaway in the lead, defending against the fast-starting Davies and Sykes. Lorenzo had a slow start, dropping to P18 after running wide at Turn 1.
Eugene was struggling with grip from his rear tyre early on, causing his pace to drop and lose places. He fought hard within the top five, but dropped to P6 on Lap 5. As his rear grip continued to cause him problems, he was passed by Fores and was caught by Guintoli.
Determined to defend his position Eugene fought hard with him, as they passed and re-passed each other all the way to the line. Able to use the imperious speed of his Aprilia, Eugene defended well against Guintoli and eventually finished P7 with 9 points to secure tenth in the championship.
With a year of valuable experience to use in their first year as Milwaukee Aprilia, the joint forces of SMR and Aprilia Racing will head into winter testing with a good base for the Aprilia RSV4-RF as they prepare to fight for the 2018 Superbike World Championship.
Eugene Laverty #50 – Aprilia RSV4-RF
Grid: P1 / Race: P7, 9 points
“I felt such a potential for the bike heading into Race Two, and it was a disappointing result really. We made the same forward steps overnight that we’ve been making all weekend, but there was something really strange going on with the rear tyre. I did what I could with the electronic to help me grip, but I haven’t had a Pirelli act like that before where it was jumping, and that needs investigating. It was a decent battle with Guintoli for seventh and I was able to utilise the bike’s power to get past, but it wasn’t where we should have been. The bike was working well in areas that we’ve struggled previously such as fast corners, but I didn’t have a rear tyre to make use of the bike that I had. It’s been a positive year for us overall. We started the year further back than we expected which was hard to deal with, but we’ve all dug deep and gradually made good progress. The second half of the year has been really positive and we’ve found a good direction to go in. We’ve focussed less on numbers and more on rider and bike feedback, and that has helped us make huge progress. I’m looking forward to the 2018 season; we will work very hard over the winter and from Phillip Island our target will be the podium. Everyone is very dedicated and determined in this team and I’m confident we will have a good year.”