WSBK: Eugene Laverty aiming to slash deficit at Jerez

Eugene Laverty (left) and his Milwaukee Aprilia team-mate Lorenzo Savadori at Jerez in Spain.
Eugene Laverty (left) and his Milwaukee Aprilia team-mate Lorenzo Savadori at Jerez in Spain.

World Superbike returnee Eugene Laverty is targeting a marked improvement during the second day of the official test at Jerez in Spain on Wednesday.

Laverty, who is back in the series following a two-year spell in the MotoGP class, pulled the wraps off his Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4-RF on Tuesday in the opening test of 2017.

However, the 30-year-old encountered some teething issues with the bike as he concluded the day in 11th place on the time sheets, 1.9 seconds behind pacesetter and reigning world champion Jonathan Rea.

Laverty, though, expects changes to the chassis and geometry to enable him to reduce the deficit at the Spanish circuit.

“There were quite a few changes compared to when I rode it in November,” Laverty said.

“It took a bit of time to get dialled in but it was a positive end to the day. I’d say we are back to where we were at the last test. We’ve arrived at the same problem and we know what we need tomorrow.

“We’re struggling to get the bike stopped and turned. It feels like it’s pushing the front a lot so that’s a direction we need to improve on tomorrow to get some lap times,” he added.

“We need to be within a second. For testing you can’t be content with being two seconds off. We need to be in range of them and feeling more comfortable.”

Laverty’s team-mate, Lorenzo Savadori, was seventh fastest.

Ulsterman Rea, bidding to make history this year by winning the World Superbike crown for the third successive season, set the fastest time in 1m 40.162s to head team-mate Sykes (1m 40.422s).

Chaz Davies (1m 40.784s) and his new Aruba.it Ducati team-mate Marco Melandri (1m 40.812s) completed the top four followed by Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and Xavi Fores on the Barni Racing Ducati.

American Nicky Hayden, riding the all-new Honda Fireblade, was ninth following (1m 41.830s) with team-mate Stefan Bradl in 12th.

Round one takes place at Phillip Island in Australia in February.