Belfast Telegraph

Eugene Laverty back in World Superbike title race

By PAUL LINDSAY

Monaco-based Ulsterman Eugene Laverty is back in the World Superbike title hunt after taking his third win in four races with a stunning race two victory on Sunday at Laguna Seca in America.

But despite his current rich vein of form, which now sees him just twenty three points behind series leader Tom Sykes on the factory Kawasaki, the Toomebridge lad is still on the hunt for a job -- after being told his services are no longer required at the factory Aprilia Racing team.

It's well known in racing circles that the Italian team has made former GP rider, and fellow Italian Marco Melandri their number one target.

Although the important part of the deal -- a signature -- has yet to be completed and one wonders, following Laverty's double victory in Turkey and the aforementioned Stateside top step -- are the Noale based team having second thoughts on showing Laverty the door?

Laverty was unavailable for comment on the aforementioned 'will they wont they' question, preferring to concentrate on winning this year's title and exorcising his mental arithmetic skills!

"I'm always doing the math on the slowing down lap and working out where we are in the title chase. I wasn't sure we could win that second race at Laguna. The package wasn't quite there, but with the power of the RSV4 and the will to win, it turned out to be the perfect combination," he said.

Smiling from ear to ear Laverty added: "That was probably one of the best races of my life and I had to work so hard on those last laps. Thanks to the team for working so hard with me all weekend. We were a step off for the first race but got it right in the second."

The factory Aprilia World Superbike star took third place in the opening race at the Californian venue on Saturday night, which was eventually run over just twelve laps, after being punctuated by two red flags incidents: firstly involving American Jordan Motorsport Suzuki riders Danny Eslick and Roger Hayden, then Niccolo Canepa (Alstare Ducati) and Pata Honda's Leon Haslam in separate incidents.

Championship leader Tom Sykes took the race one victory from Goldbet BMW's Chaz Davies with Laverty third, extending his lead over previous second place rider Sylvain Guintoli, who drops to third in the standings after a lackluster weekend with a pair of fifth placed finishes on the second factory Aprilia.

Laverty was followed home in race two by Davide Guigliano on the Althea Racing Aprilia with BMW's Marco Melandri forcing series leader Tom Sykes aside to steal in for third position.

Looking ahead to the penultimate round at Magny Cours in France this coming weekend, Laverty said: "I struggled last year at Magny Cours, but my RSV4 has grown a lot since then, so things could change."

With the championship title now firmly in his mind, Laverty's thoughts quickly jumped ahead to the final round in Spain on October 20, and confidently explained: "Jerez is our test track so I could have an advantage going into those final two races. In any case I'll need to give one hundred percent in every session for the next two race weekends.

Meanwhile, Britain's Cal Crutchlow was left downcast having finished sixth from seventh on the grid to bring an end to a frustrating weekend.

"A useless race for me," the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider said.

"We had no speed on the bike for no apparent reason. We had a brand-new engine this (Sunday) morning, but all weekend we have been struggling and losing 10, 12, 13 kilometres an hour average to the Hondas and six or seven to the other Yamahas."

Next up on the calendar will be Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.

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