Laverty: Now I can attack
Eugene Laverty took a low key approach to winter testing with the Irishman focussing on learning as much as possible as he adapts to MotoGP rather than looking to set headline times. The adaptation from a World Superbike to a MotoGP bike is a challenging one and by taking a methodical approach Laverty was able to learn step by step how to ride his Open Honda.
Having struggled for feel and confidence on the bike in the Sepang tests the Aspar rider made a big step forward in Qatar with the front end feel of the bike suddenly much improved following setup tweaks trialled initially at the second Sepang test.
"It's been progress since the last day in Sepang and I'm not able to really attack the front and that's where you make the laptime with this bike," said Laverty. "In Sepang I had one exit where we made a step with the front feeling and it was then that I realised that maybe I'd been too hard on myself and understood that we needed to make some changes to the bike to let me attack. Now with the front I can attack it. If you're not able to attack the front with this bike you're not going to be fast. You only need to look at how Marc wins races."
In Qatar Laverty was two tenths slower than Nicky Hayden on their fastest laps but crucially was able to set a string of sub 1m58s laps that left him looking strongly placed to be challenging to be the leading Open Honda in next weekend's season opening Qatar Grand Prix.