Michael Laverty set to move up a gear at Thruxton in British Superbike Championship
Welsh based Ulsterman Michael Laverty is hoping that his share of misfortune is now behind him, as he looks to resurrect his aspirations of a maiden British Superbike Championship title - beginning this weekend at Thruxton in Hampshire.
"I do really enjoy the unique character of the Thruxton circuit," said Laverty. "There's nowhere else in the world where you can do 150mph power slides in fifth gear, and that's a cool feeling when your bike is working for you. But when the set-up is not quite there and it's like riding a Buckaroo - it's actually quite scary."
The Tyco BMW rider showed blistering pace pre-season, both in Spain and the official BSB tests, but apart from an opening day win at Silverstone and a podium a fortnight ago in Norfolk, Laverty would be the first to admit that the opening half of his season has been a litany of frustrating problems and misgivings.
Not wanting to make excuses, the 35-year-old, who currently sits seventh in the championship table, explained that he's ready to 'right the wrongs' during round six of the series this coming weekend in the south of England.
"I've looked back forensically at previous races as I'm very critical of myself and my performance, but there are a lot of areas where I would do the same thing again tomorrow; I just think there were circumstances where I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," he lamented.
Preferring to take the positives from the package and his performances, he added: "The good thing for me is that we haven't lacked speed at any of the circuits and have always been one of the fastest, if not the fastest combination of team, rider and bike. Of course that doesn't always guarantee results, as it has shown. It's a matter of bringing the consistency back into play."
Looking at the two men who are currently disputing top spot -Leon Haslam on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and Shane Byrne on the BeWiser PBM Ducati - Laverty said: "After pre-season testing there's no doubt we had the best package on the grid. Kawasaki and Ducati have found a couple of things over the last few rounds that has maybe put them slightly ahead in certain areas, but our team has responded and we have some upgrades coming so we are no means struggling."
I asked Laverty did he feel Lady Luck maybe hadn't served him an equal portion this season, with a small mechanical problem at Silverstone, inclement weather and two incidents at Knockhill and Snetterton, possibly costing him what looked to be cast-iron podium finishes - not to mention a strange low-speed front end crash during qualifying at the last round?
"I don't normally like to use the word luck, but on quite a few occasion we have been unlucky this season," he said. "There have been four or five races where certain things have happened to ruined a podium for sure, but that's just the way it goes."
Looking ahead with optimism, starting this weekend at Thruxton, which sees the championship reach the halfway point, he enthused: "I'm going to Thruxton pretty relaxed this year, so we should be on the money right from the opening session on Friday morning. Two wins would change the whole dynamic of where we are in the championship table."