Superbike Championship: Michael Laverty poised to put pressure on the leading men
Michael Laverty powered his Relentless Suzuki to the top of the free practice leaderboard ahead of the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Knockhill.
The Toomebridge rider, currently third in the title chase, powered in a best lap of 48.873secs at the Fife circuit as he goes in search of the victories he needs to peg back the leading duo of Tommy Hill and Josh Brookes.
Hill, riding for Worx Suzuki, has seen his lead in the standings slashed to just four points after two recent problematic rounds and he could only managed the sixth best time with a lap of 49.370secs.
Brookes, meanwhile, posted a lap in 49.206secs to be second fastest, though there is little between the top six with local favourite Stuart Easton, Ryuichi Kiyonari, the double race winner last time out at Mallory Park, and Michael Rutter all on the pace.
Brookes felt he had the perfect opportunity this weekend to steal a march on leader Hill, and it appears as though that may just work out for him, though he is still wary of the Surrey man’s threat, and that of Easton.
Brookes said: “I had two good races at Knockhill last year with a couple of podium finishes and had a good scrap with Leon (Camier) and Stuart (Easton) so I am up for more of that again.
“I think perhaps we will see Stuart back up there again after he seemed to struggle at Mallory Park and the same for Tommy. I want to beat everyone when they are at their best and I think that will be the case on Sunday.
“Two second place finishes at Mallory Park was a good result for the championship.
“But I am obviously racing for wins and that is what I want.
“I think as a team we are in a stronger position now following the tests and last weekend the Honda Fireblade was definitely the bike to beat.
“I need to keep putting the pressure on Tommy and then with two good results we could come away leading the championship for the first time.
“For me each round is a step towards improving what we have already done and being the best we can as the rounds are so close together that momentum is important — we want that championship lead this weekend.”