Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

No joy in Spain for Eugene Laverty and Johnny Rea

PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 24: Eugene Laverty of Ireland and Aprilia Racing Team heads down a straight during the race 1 during the round first of 2013 Superbike FIM World Championship at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on February 24, 2013 in Phillip Island, Australia. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

It was a day of despair for both of Ulster's World Superbike runners Eugene Laverty and Johnny Rea during the two races in Spain.

Laverty retired with an electronic problem in race one when leading on the fourth lap with things going from bad to worse when he took an immediate lead of race two only to lose the front of his Aprilia at the second corner and crash out.

Laverty had the race pace all weekend, but emerged from the Aragon races with zero points dropping from first to third in the championship.

"I simply got caught out by a cold tyre in race two after a delayed start. I'll learn my lesson and move on to Assen," he said.

Rea and his Pata Honda were involved in a great scrap for fourth in race one, the lack of speed evident with his machine on the long straight at the Spanish circuit, however Rea, riding in his 101st WSB race, rode his socks off and just missed out on a podium by 1.1secs.

In race two Rea, in sixth position, returned to the pits on lap five with a broken brake adjuster, returning to track to finish in 15th position.

Afterwards, Rea said: "It's hard to know what to say. I'm disappointed with the overall performance. In the races I was unable to compete with the guys around me on the straight, which made riding the rest of the circuit intense.

"In race one we plugged away and picked up the pieces after some riders misfortunes. Hopefully we can learn from these things for the next round at Assen."

The two races were won by Welsh BMW rider Chas Davies, who was recording his first WSB double.

In the world supersport race Jack Kennedy riding for the Jeremy McWilliams managed Rivamoto Honda team finished in seventh position.

Yesterday at a windy Thruxton, in Hampshire, Mar-Train Yamaha had a tremendous day when Stuart Easton won both British Supersport championship races for the Temple-based team.

In the first sprint race carried over from Saturday because of bad weather, Easton and Gearlink Kawasaki pair Alastair Seeley and Ben Wilson flashed across the finish line with less than half a second between them after 10 hectic laps.

In the feature 15-lap event Easton, Seeley and Wilson all took turns at the front in a thriller with up to seven riders nose to tail and swapping positions around the high speed circuit only for the red flags to cut short the race on lap 13 with a result declared giving Easton a double with Wilson second and Seeley third.

The Scot said: "That was tough, I thought it would settle down mid race, but no chance. I felt I was strong through Church Bend and the run up to the chicane and it was a case of waiting for the last lap, but it so happened when it was stopped I was in front. That's three wins out of four races, you can't be bad to that."

The red flag was caused when Nikki Coates crashed at the chicane and was hit by a following rider. Coates was taken to hospital suffering from a sore head, but otherwise unscathed.

Seeley said: "Shame it was stopped. It was a case of getting into a good position for the last lap and I was confident I had the speed, but that's racing."

In the two British Superbike races the grid was topsy-turvy after qualifying was wiped out by the weather.

In race one Keith Farmer was in third place when he suffered a huge crash from which he was lucky to walk away unscathed.

And then in race two he finished a creditable sixth as both races were won by Shayne Byrne, who has now set a new BSB record of 44 wins.

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