Eugene Laverty is keen to get back in the groove
Monaco-based Ulsterman Eugene Laverty spent the second day of MotoGP's Phillip Island test working on his confidence with the front end of his Aspar Ducati, after his recent crashes in Malaysia and Spain.
The Toomebridge ace, who is still suffering the after-effects of a hand injury, started the day cautiously but gained confidence as the session went on.
He did manage to post a one minute 30.617 seconds effort on lap 46 of 52 and this meant that despite being 17th on the timesheets, he was just 1.486 seconds adrift of leading rider Maverick Vinales on the Team Suzuki machine.
Laverty is hoping to make additional progress on the final day of the test today as he tries to make up for the lack of dry testing time caused by his crashes at Jerez and Sepang.
Summing up his opening two days down under in Australia, Laverty explained: "Today was good. The start of the day was wet so we had to wait a little, but once the track dried out I was able to put in 50 laps.
"That allowed us to adjust the bike and make it a little bit more comfortable for me.
"The most important thing for me was to get some confidence with the front because that is what caused my crash in November (at Jerez in Spain)."
He added: "At the start it didn't feel so good and I felt I was going to crash again, but we made some progress and as my feeling with the front improved so did the pace."
Closer to home, the new Mid Antrim 150 Club has announced an £18,000 prize fund for the opening national road race of the season - the JFM Haulage Mid Antrim Road Races on April 1 and 2.
After a two-year absence the Mid Antrim 150 is back, albeit in a new calendar position, which should attract a top class entry and vast support.
Entries close on Saturday, March 19 and can be accessed via www.midantrim150.co.uk, the MCUI website www.mcui-uc.org.uk or by contacting Marie on 0777 476 9920.