WSBK: Eugene Laverty says ‘big jumps’ needed with Aprilia

Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia at Phillip Island.
Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia at Phillip Island.

Eugene Laverty admits there is still plenty of work to do with the Milwaukee Aprilia after a tough opening race weekend for the Northern Ireland rider at Phillip Island in Australia.

Laverty, a former World Superbike Championship runner-up for Aprilia in 2013, finished race one in eighth place and led race two on Sunday before slipping back through the field, eventually crossing the line in 10th position.

The Toome man has struggled with the set-up of the RSV4 at the fast, flowing Phillip Island circuit and Laverty says ‘big jumps’ are needed with the bike before round two in Thailand in two weeks’ time.

“On the first few laps I thought we had the pace and Alex [Lowes] was a bit slower in places, so I thought we’d overtake him and see what we could do,” Laverty said.

“After a few laps the bike wouldn’t go forward and I started to go backwards. It’s not just about chipping away at it, we’re looking at taking big jumps because the bike right now is far away from the front guys.

“The important thing is that Aprilia know that an they’ve got some work to do. I was able to hang in for a few laps but it’s a 22-lap race and I was 20 seconds behind, so we’ve got our work to do and we’ve got to try and catch up.”

New rule changes introduced this season mean the top three finishers in race one are required to start the second race from the third row.

The decision was met with controversy in some quarters but Laverty, who was promoted to fifth place on the grid for race two under the changes, said the system did not have a major impact on the outcome, with fellow countryman Jonathan Rea taking victory from ninth place on the grid.

“It is what it is; it doesn’t matter what the riders think, if they complain or like it, and it’s about what the fans think,” said Laverty.

“It was pretty cool to see Johnny come through the pack and it only took him a few laps, so it’s so far, so good.”