Eugene Laverty happy to keep riding his luck after Argentine fourth
The luck of the Irish shone brightly on Toomebridge MotoGP star Eugene Laverty's in Argentina on Sunday, with the Monaco-based Ulsterman able to pick his way through carnage and controversy to score a magnificent fourth place aboard his Aspar Ducati.
Problems with MotoGP's all-new Michelin control tyre forced an obligatory bike change on safety grounds for all riders in the race. But when some of the leading contenders bit the dust, followed by a 'head in the hands' moment for Ducati, when their Italian riders Iannone and Dovizioso took each other out; not to mention an incident between Hector Barbera and Pol Espargaro - the smiling little Ulsterman with the cheeky grin was ready to pick up the pieces.
"It was a weird race," said Laverty. "That last lap was something a bit special.
"I think I started it in eighth position and finished it in fourth, it was an incredible race, a race of two parts, because we obviously had to come in to change bikes."
Explaining the closing stages and that crazy last lap, Eugene recounted: "Barbera and Espargaro hit each other and I passed them; then there were riders everywhere and I didn't really know what position I was in until I looked up at the big screen and saw I was fourth afterwards.
"Starting from 17th on the grid to come through to fourth is something you'd expect from a wet race, but this was effectively a dry race.
"In saying that, the track was filthy and there was no grip out there and the damp patches also caused a lot of problems, but to take fourth place and 13 points - I can't ask for much more than that."
It's Northern Ireland's best premier class finish since Jeremy McWilliams jumped on the Donington Park podium in the Millennium year behind a certain Mr Valentino Rossi - who was winning his first-ever 500cc Grand Prix - with Kenny Roberts Junior second on the factory Suzuki.
Laverty said his good fortune and positive performance leaves him confident of more success.
"We have been off the pace after so many big knocks and it took me a while to regain my confidence, but I feel we are back where we should be now and I want to thank the whole team for their efforts," he added.
Remaining realistic, Laverty fully understand that his goals for the season, as they were in Argentina, are to consistently battle for the lower end of the top ten on his Aspar Ducati, which is no mean task.
"Argentina was very tricky for everyone, but hopefully this sets us up well for Austin," he added.