Laverty: ‘The bike feels like mine now’

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Eugene Laverty says his Apsar Ducati is finally starting to feel like his own bike, as the Northern Irishman comes close to finding a base setting with the GP14.2 machine after missing much of the 2016 pre-season.

Laverty has battled injury and bad luck throughout testing, first breaking his wrist after only a handful of laps at Jerez in the final test of 2015 and bringing his season to a premature end.

He then lost most of the Sepang test after first a stuck throttle and then brake failure left him to jump from the bike at high speed – and dented his confidence. But, after completing the Qatar test and finally getting up to speed on the machine, he says things are finally coming together.

“It’s a big relief to fall in love with your bike again. Not enjoying riding, that’s never happened me before. On the last day I felt really content and we were pushing on. OK, the new tyre, I really tried for a lap time and all I could was 1:57.1. That was the limit. I was thinking ‘s**t, where’s the 1:56 at here, never mind the 1:55?’”

“After that we worked on the setting and I began to understand. I realised where we need to improve because we improved the front feeling a lot. That was part of the reason why I’ve had so many bloody crashes. Now I’ve stopped the front tyre slipping so much, I’ve stopped it jumping. It’s amazing how you get used to a sensation like that, when the tyre is slipping and moving. All of a sudden we fixed it and we thought ‘this is a tyre again.’ It feels nice.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer