Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

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.”

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