LAVERTY WANTS TO REEL IN MOTOGP FRONT-RUNNERS
New Ducati rider Eugene Laverty has set himself a clear goal for the 2016 season – to be the best of the new crop of satellite Ducati riders on similar machinery.
With his Aspar team graduating from open class Honda to the GP14.2 Ducati that Danilo Petrucci took to a damp Silverstone podium last season, Laverty not only now has a competitive machine under him but also rivals to measure his performance against.
“Position-wise it’s difficult to predict where I want to be, but timing-wise I want to be a lot closer to the front guys. Last year it was 1.5 or 2 seconds a lap, but now it has to be under a second – we need to progress in that department.
“But there are four of us on similar machinery, and last year there was only me and Nicky, so the first little aim is to be the fastest of those four bikes. Then, after that, it’s to try and have a shot at the other Ducatis of Redding and Petrucci and see where we’re at.”
Before that happens, though, he first needs to find his comfort zone on the new machine after losing out on valuable testing time at the end of 2015. Crashing heavily at Jerez, Laverty brought a premature end to 2015 with a broken wrist that’s only now getting back to full fitness.
“The wrist is OK now, and I’ve just started to get out on a bicycle and a supermoto again. It needs a few weeks more, but come the Sepang test I should be back in a good place. It’s been a long pause – probably a good time to get injured – but a long time off bikes.
“That means the tests are a case of getting more time on the bikes and more time on the Michelins. I didn’t get many laps on it at Jerez, only 20 laps on day one and 25 on day two up until I crashed, so we have the new electronics dialled in but the key is to start to change things for the Michelins.”