Fired-up Eugene Laverty aims to pile pressure on big names
This weekend's British Moto Grand Prix round will be all about joint championship leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, but Toomebridge ace Eugene Laverty is making his premier class debut at Silverstone and has been acquitting himself well in the opening exchanges.
Laverty finished yesterday's second Free Practice session in 16th place on the Power Electronics Open class Aspar Honda but more importantly just 1.5 seconds behind provisional pole position man Lorenzo on the factory Yamaha.
The Monaco-based Ulsterman has previously described Silverstone as one of his favourite circuits, and said of yesterday's opening sessions: "This is our best Friday on track since Jerez, and now that we can see where we can realistically be, it's pushing both myself and the team on."
Preparing himself for tomorrow's race action, Laverty said: "We know how important it is to get a slipstream around this track, so I tried following a couple of other riders down the straights, but in the end I actually set my fastest lap on my own.
"I was able to set a consistent pace in both sessions so we have to be happy with the way we have started the weekend."
Describing the characteristics of the Northamptonshire circuit, Laverty said: "There are bumps here, like Brno, but in different places.
"We have had to adapt the settings on the bike to deal with the bumps, but this is a very technical circuit, where the rider can make a difference.
"I will be pushing hard to keep up this positive start but overall the feeling with the bike was good over one lap, but we need to find a little more consistency."
Laverty was only one place behind British rider Cal Crutchlow [LCR Honda] on the timesheets yesterday, but the session was dominated by Lorenzo, with Spain's Dani Pedrosa second, and British rider Bradley Smith third on the Tech 3 Monster Yamaha.
The opening race of this year's Classic TT at the 2015 Manx Grand Prix Festival gets under way this morning at 11.45am and reigning champion Lee Johnston is a big favourite to retain the Okells Brewery 350cc Classic TT aboard his Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta.
The Fermanagh lad, like most competitors, has had little or no track time due to the weather during practice week, but was still able to set the only 100mph lap.
His effort of 102.32mph was almost one minute ahead of second placed Alan Oversby in qualifying, so if the little MV keeps going, the Maguiresbridge lad should win his second Classic Manx today.
Bradford's Dean Harrison set the fastest lap time in the Formula 1 class last night with an effort of 121.730mph, just three seconds faster than Michael Dunlop [121.491mph], with Bruce Anstey third [120.306mph].