Eugene Laverty had reason for celebration in Sunday’s Argaon MotoGP round in Spain.
Not only did the Toomebridge rider claim his first championship points for a number of races, he also won the Open class for the first time.
Eugene beat Aspar Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden by 0.093 seconds and has now accumulated 14 points in his first season in the class.
Laverty’s best finish of the season remains a 12th position in Spain earlier in the year.
Laverty joked on Twitter that he “had to ask for directions” to the winner’s enclosure after a largely frustrating first year in the sport’s elite class.
“I am very happy with the result in the race here at Aragon. The qualifying session yesterday was fantastic but it was just one lap; today was very important because we were strong in 23 laps,” said Laverty.
“I was used to fighting for the top positions and fighting to get into the points now is different, but the Open concept is something that helps us to stay motivated. I felt relaxed on the bike, and the bike was working better towards the end,” he added.
“I just rode my own race and focused on what I was doing. Even though we were battling for 14th, I treated it as if we were in the fight to win the race – that’s the way you have to approach it.”
“We have been doing a great job in the second half of the season and finally we were able to have something to show for it today, I hope to continue to progress in the upcoming rounds.”
Laverty’s performance lifts some of the gloom surrounding the uncertainty over his future in MotoGP, with speculation suggesting he may not have a ride in the Spanish-based team in 2016 despite signing a two-year contract.
Aspar, though, is in talks with Ducati to run GP14.2 machines next year and although short on sponsorship cash, the team is said to be committed to running two riders again next year, with Laverty’s result at Aragon enhancing his prospects of remaining in the class.