Lucky-starred Eugene Laverty put his good hand in his pocket today to fly an Ulster-based specialist out to Australia in a bid to speed up his crash injury recovery in time for Sunday week’s opening World Superbike Championship race at Phillip Island.
Eugene immediately sent for Derry osteopath Michael Kerr after walking away from a 200mph crash in testing yesterday, fortunate only to have suffered a broken bone in his left hand.
The Toombridge rider will pick up the cost of flights and expenses from his own funds and with his new £150,000 Aprilia machine written off, it was a costly crash — but it could have been worse.
Laverty’s evasive action skills and the effectiveness of his safety leathers and helmet doing their job undoubtedly saved him from more serious injury as he lost brake power hurtling into a corner.
Unfazed, he spoke today from Phillip Island of his determination to make the practice grid for his Aprilia race debut next weekend.
“The injured hand is strapped up and there’s a lot of swelling but I’m confident I can give it a go and be back out there racing,” he said.
“That’s why I’ve gone to the personal expense of flying out Michael Kerr. It’s costing a lot of money but it’s also my career and livelihood at the end of the day.
“That’s why I want someone I know and trust to be here treating me. Michael looked after me when I suffered a similar injury to my other hand at Knockhill in Scotland in 2006.
“Because of that I had a fair idea of the extent of the damage this time.
“I could have flown home to see Michael there but two 24-hour flights in a week would have added to the physical toll and maybe set back the recovery time so I decided to ask Michael to fly out here and I’m happy he’s now on his way.”
Eugene also described the moment he realised he was heading for a big off on the last day of the test at turn one, the end of the start and finish straight.
“The brake pads got knocked back after a wobble entering turn one at 200mph,” he explained.
“I had no brakes so I had to put the bike down. I did manage to slow down to about 125mph before having to bail off the back of the bike.
“Luckily there was a fair bit of run-off but I hit tarmac and then tumbled through the gravel causing the more severe injury to my left hand.
“My helmet also took a fair knock but it could have been a lot worse.”
After going to hospital an X-ray showed the third metacarpal broken in his left hand.
Laverty, fourth on a Yamaha in his debut season last time around, now partners former World Superbike champion Max Biaggi in the classy factory Aprilia team.
He signed a two-year deal to ride for Aprilia in the World Superbike series in 2012 and 2013.
Laverty won both races at Monza in 2011 and also secured podiums at Silverstone and Magny-Cours.
Fresh from dominating pre-season testing, Casey Stoner will use rival Valentino Rossi's criticism as motivation to defend his MotoGP title.
Stoner said his second championship, on a Honda, was made more satisfying after the jibes he was subjected to by Rossi when he rode a Ducati.
Now Rossi is struggling to win on the Ducati after his switch from Yamaha and Stoner observed: “Clearly he is 10 times more confused than we ever were.”