Eugene takes Saturday podium and Sunday P8 at Misano
Milwaukee Aprilia delivered an excellent performance at the Misano World Circuit this weekend, securing a strong third and eighth on Saturday followed by seventh and eighth on Sunday
Following a strong run in Superpole Eugene delivered his best qualifying of 2018 and lined up P3 on the grid with a lap of 1’34.281. Lorenzo’s pace was not for from his teammate and qualified close behind in P5 with a 1’34.400.
At the Race 1 start Eugene made a quick getaway. He held off a challenge from Davies into turn 3, holding third and chasing down Rea and Sykes ahead. Lapping on the leaders’ pace, Eugene passed Sykes for second when the latter’s pace dropped off. Eugene struggled with an issue on his bike’s rear potentiometer late in the race, and went wide at the final corner to open the door for Davies to pass.
Despite his set back he closed Davies down to reduce the gap from 1.7 to finish just 0.9 at the finish, and brought his Aprilia home a strong P3 and securing the team’s first back-to-back podium run in WorldSBK.
For Race 2 teammate Lorenzo lined up P5 on the second row, while Eugene moved back to start P7 on the third row. At the start of the race both riders lost ground to the competition, Lorenzo gaining the upper hand on his teammate with a strong launch. From there they ran nose to tail, Eugene trailing Lorenzo by less than 0.3s in the early stages.
They closed in on Lowes ahead in P6, and gained a position along with the rest of the field when Fores retired from the lead. Lorenzo began to eke out an advantage on Eugene, creating a gap of over 1 second in the middle stages of the race. He held onto his advantage and led home Eugene for a P7-P8 double points finish.
Following their debut on the podium in Laguna Seca the team can be happy with the recent progress they have made and carry the momentum into the final four races of 2018.
WorldSBK now heads into its summer break, returning to racing action at the Portimao circuit in Portugal on the 14th-16th September.
Eugene Laverty #50 – Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1’34.281 – P3 on grid
Race 1 result: P3 – 16 points
Race 2 grid: P7 – Row 3
Race 2 result: P8 – 8 points
“Superpole was a big surprise, I wasn’t expecting to end up on the first row. The pace has been good over race distance but qualifying isn’t usually our strongest area, and that helped me in the race.
I made a good start from P3 and held off a move from Chaz [Davies]. I managed to pass Sykes after he made a mistake and hold P2, and then Davies was close behind. There was a gap and I thought I could hold onto second, but then there was a sensor failure and I lost some rear grip which made the bike really difficult. It was bitter sweet to get third when I knew second was possible of course but I’m happy with the result for the team.
Race 2 was very strange for me. Compared with yesterday I just had no rear grip from the start, it felt like the rear was cold and just wouldn’t stop spinning. I tried to adapt my riding and find grip when the bike was upright like I normally would but it didn’t happen.
We’ve done a fantastic job overall this weekend to progress the way we have. FP1 wasn’t great but we changed and adapted the bike, and we were nearly set for second yesterday. It was a hell of a performance to back Laguna up with, it was just unfortunate we couldn’t get that extra place heading into the summer.
At the Portimao test we’ll be working on making the bike stop better, that’s the main area we struggle with when battling with other riders. Aprilia have some ideas to try and now that we’ve got the bike in a good place it’s a great opportunity to progress and put ourselves in a good position for the end of the season.”