GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
Laverty engulfed in flames after 128mph crash
Eugene Laverty somehow managed to walk away from a spectacular crash and subsequent fireball in the opening race at Imola on Saturday. The Milwaukee Aprilia rider got tangled with Pata Yamaha man Alex Lowes on the frighteningly fast plummet towards Rivazza corner on the historic Italian circuit.
As Lowes went inside on the fast right curve Laverty felt he was pushed wide and as they both lined up to make the final approach to the corner entry they touched.
Laverty’s front mudguard and front brake line were ripped off in the collision meaning that the Irishman was now heading off-track rapidly with no way of slowing down. In a split second decision that ultimately meant he avoided serious injury the calculating 30-year-old decided to
jump off his Aprilia superbike despite travelling at a data confirmed 128mph!
Speaking to MCN after the crash, Laverty admitted he’d had a lucky escape, as his bike hit the unprotected section of the retaining wall and burst into flames.
“I am just glad to walk away from it because it is one of those incidents where anything could have happened. It was just unfortunate, but the salt being rubbed into the wounds was looking round and seeing the fireball and knowing that somebody else had destroyed a bike.”
For Laverty there was no escape once the move had been made.
“You get sucked in because you still get a slipstream at that speed, it does not matter if you are on the gas or off the gas. In a way it is a racing incident and it was not intentional at all, it was just a little bit clumsy. You cannot say Alex did anything too wrong but he was not very precise at that point. But Alex would not do something like that intentionally.”
Anyone who witnessed the Laverty crash and saw a completely destroyed factory Aprilia and Laverty cartwheeling through the gravel trap at 100mph would have been amazed to see him back on the grid the following day for race two. In fact, the Irishman went on to secure one of his best results of the season, finishing seventh.
“My rivals have found another second a lap since the start of the season. One of the fundamental problems we have been complaining about is that for a few laps we are okay, then for a few laps afterwards we are screwed. Hopefully for Donington we can change the weight bias but we can’t do it here.”
‘It was not intentional at all, just a liuttle bit clumsy’ EUGENE LAVERTY