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Laverty: “On just my second outing I matched my best lap"

Laverty: “On just my second outing I matched my best lap'

Three crashes didn’t dampen Eugene Laverty’s spirits as he debuted on the GP14.2 in Valencia.

With the MotoGP™ World Championship undergoing a variety of technical regulation changes for 2016, riders were eager to get out on track and begin sampling their new tyres and electronics. Eugene Laverty is also switching from the difficult to handle Open Honda to the GP14.2, the Irishman immediately enjoying the added power and seamless gearbox of the Ducati. Unfortunately Laverty only had one GP14.2 and three crashes meant that his time on track was limited as his Aspar Team repaired the damage. Most importantly, Laverty and his team were able to understand what caused the crash and make the necessary changes. The Michelin and Bridgestone tyres have very different characteristics and Laverty’s Ducati was still set up for the Bridgestones, causing him to crash as he pushed on the new French rubber. Even with the crashes, new tyres and a new bike Laverty was able to match his times from the race and make steady improvements over the two days.

A 1’32.377 saw Laverty end as the 17th fastest rider, able to lap within a second and a half of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) who led the test. As well as chassis setup, Laverty is aware he has to change his riding style to emphasise the strengths of the new Michelin tyres. Until the closing stages of the test Laverty had been quite frustrated with what he had achieved but in the final hour he and the team made a major step and the Irishman felt the GP14.2 was his own.

Eugene Laverty: “The most important thing was to finish this test in a positive way because we lost time over the past two days because I crashed three times. With just one bike we lost a lot of hours in repairs. We started off pretty quickly and on just my second outing I matched my best lap on the Honda, but the crashes slowed our progress. In the end we found the cause of the crashes, made some changes to the setting and then I could go fast. Basically the reason was that the chassis balance was too much in the Bridgestone style, and so was my riding. With a new bike and new tyres there is always a period of adjustment but the important thing is that we got there in the end. At 3:30pm today I wasn't happy but in the last hour and a half we made a lot of progress, the bike started to feel like my own and now I can leave the test happy. As far as the new tyres are concerned I think they can suit my style and I should be able to make the most of the good grip on the rear, which should suit the Ducati too. I am excited, there is plenty of reason for optimism. Even on my fastest lap today I sacrificed the right-handers because I'd had a few crashes there so didn't want to take any risks. To set that lap time without pushing in every corner, I'm happy. We are not too far from the top Ducati so the goal for the next test is to close that gap."

MotoGP, 2016, VALENCIA MOTOGP™ OFFICIAL TEST, T2, Eugene Laverty

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