Flying 15 is a sore point for Eugene Laverty
Toomebridge rider Eugene Laverty enjoyed his second successive points scoring finish after taking 15th place in yesterday's MotoGP race at Mugello in Italy - round six of this year's championship.
After struggling throughout the weekend with set-up problems on his Power Electronics Aspar Honda, the Monaco based Ulsterman qualified in 24th position, and the first part of the Italian GP was productive for Laverty, who gained many places thanks to passes and crashes involving his more established rivals.
But in the last part of the race, the former World Superbike number two lost feeling with the front end of his Open Class Honda RC213V-RS, though he did manage to reach his goal of placing inside the points for the second time this season.
Speaking afterwards, the slightly perplexed 28-year-old said: "Both at Le Mans and here in Mugello we experienced difficult weekends. However these are the only two races where I have scored points, which is a strange feeling.
"On one hand I am unhappy with my feeling with the bike, but on the other we scored points. Being realistic, I finished 10 seconds behind where I should have been.
"In the first two parts of the race we were able to keep a steady pace. However, in the last third the bike became difficult to ride."
Explaining the technical side of the job, Eugene added: "We are working in the right direction, but we must persevere to find a more balanced bike set-up that allows me to ride an entire race smoothly.
"In chicanes and areas where I need the bike to flow, I have to put a lot of weight on the front in order to corner. One of my strengths is in braking, but we've had to sacrifice this in order to corner better, so hopefully we can work towards a more balanced set-up."
The race was won my Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, who took his third successive MotoGP victory, with Ducati's Andrea Iannone second and championship leader Valentino Rossi third on the second of the Movistar Yamahas.
Lorenzo's victory moves him to within six points of Lorenzo in the title race, but there was disaster for reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez who crashed out with just six laps to go.
Closet to home, the opening practice sessions for this year's Isle of Man TT Races got underway on Saturday night with Vauxhall North West 200 winner Ryan Farquhar topping the early Lightweight class leaderboard after a lap of 117.12mph - his best ever on a Supertwin around the Mountain Circuit.
Not far behind the Dungannon man was Lincolnshire rider Gary Johnson with a lap speed of 117.02mph with Ivan Lintin, also from Lincolnshire, who missed this year's North West 200 after a spat with the organisers, third on 116.60mph.
The opening session was a speed controlled lap for the solo and sidecar newcomers and TT rider liaison officer Richard 'Milky' Quayle - the 2002 Lightweight TT winner - led the solos away with Tom McHale, Robbin Harms and Frenchman Franck Petricola behind him.
Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson ended the evening early due to rain falling on the circuit, meaning the F2 Sidecars missed out on their session and will have to wait until tonight to get their first laps.