Michael Laverty is hoping some major set-up tweaks to his British-built PBM chassis will help him fight for a second successive top 15 finish this season in this weekend’s French MotoGP round at the historic Le Mans track.
After claiming his first points with a hard fought 13th place in Jerez, Laverty then enjoyed a positive post race test in Spain where weight distribution and centre of gravity modifications helped improve his feeling on the Paul Bird Motorsport machine, which was designed and built from a blank canvass in the UK.
The 32-year-old is now hoping the Jerez test tweaks will help him challenge closer to the top CRT machinery in this weekend’s fourth round in France.
The former BSB race winner told MCN: “We needed that test in Jerez just to play around a little bit with the bike. We made a good positive step with a few things we changed. We lowered the bike by quite a lot compared to what we have been running in the first three races and that was a massive step forward for turning on the side of the tyre.
I got so much more steering on the side of the tyre and it was easier to ride and it wasn’t so much of a fight. We were about 10mm lower than what I’ve been running all year and it made the bike pitch and transfer less. I’d actually been asking for more transfer to the front because I’ve been struggling to load the front but when we lowered the bike and it had less transfer, there was less pitch to the back and it made it easier to load the front.
You sometimes chase something down the wrong path and as soon as I went that way we actually got more weight onto the front. Things like lowering the bike you would normally do in the early part of testing but with this project being so new we just haven’t had the chance to do it.
That now will definitely be our base setting for Le Mans and we probably haven’t reached the maximum with it because on the very last exit we dropped the bike again and it was better again on pretty old tyres so it will be interesting to go another step forward.
The weakness is still instantly loading the front tyre for fast corners but it is massively better. I think if we had used that setting in the race in Jerez I’d have been consistently half-a-second-a-lap faster.”