Eugene Laverty fired a warning shot to his 2012 WSB rivals in Portugal today by setting the fastest lap time first time out onboard his factory PATA Aprilia.
The 25 year old Irishman set an impressive 1.42.8s best at the end of the test to top the time sheets and show beyond doubt that he will be a serious title contender in 2012.
After a steady start Laverty made a number of changes to the set-up of his Aprilia to improve the feel, grip and bump absorption and was then able to show what he was capable of using the same race tyre as he used on Sunday.
Speaking to MCN, he said: “I’m happy and to be honest a little bit surprised to be fastest and to do a 1.42.8 lap time. I’d heard a lot about this bike over the years but in my opinion things have been exaggerated. The engineers I’m working with know the bike really well, which helped me a lot and it’s also been a big advantage having spent three days racing here at the weekend.”
Jonathan Rea led proceedings for the majority of the day having set an impressive 1.43.0 time in the morning. The Castrol Honda rider had a host of hard parts to evaluate and to maximise track time, Rea had four bikes available to test:
He said: “It’s been a busy one, we’ve got a lot done and found a direction we need to work in. We saw it in the race on Sunday that I’m down on speed but the team, have got some good ideas of how we can improve that so I’m feeling confident. It was nice to finish the season with two podiums and it’s good to be fast here at the test.”
Kawasaki man Joan Lascorz built on his impressive race weekend to set the joing second fastest time ahead of BMW man Leon Haslam.
Haslam got to evaluate a new 2012 spec BMW S1000RR complete with revised chassis, engine and bodywork.
He said: “I wenet faster today on the new bike than I did all weekend so it’s positive.I could feel the difference but it’s still really early days in terms of the set-up so its still not perfect. I think if we’d spent the day on the old bike we would have been even faster, but it’s good to make a start with the new one.”
Haslam’s team-mate Marco Melandri made a promising start to his life at BMW with a 1.43.7s best. The 28 year old Italian was pleasantly surprised by the feeling from the bike, but admitted to MCN that there is still a lot of work to do.
For full insight into the test see MCN out Wednesday 26th October.
Unofficial WSB times
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1.42.8
Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1.42.9
Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1.42.9
Leon Haslam (BMW) 1.43.3
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1.43.3
Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1.43.3
Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1.43.4
Marco Melandri (BMW) 1.43.7
Brett McCormick (Ducati) 1.44.2
Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1.44.4