Belfast Telegraph

Eugene Laverty rues lost time as Valentino Rossi claims victory at Silverstone round of British MotoGP

By Paul Lindsay

Yesterday's British MotoGP at Silverstone was awash with stars from the big screen and a plethora of global sporting arenas, but despite having legendary champion jockey AP McCoy there to support him, Toomebridge man Eugene Laverty will be a tad disappointed with his 17th placed finish.

"This was our first wet race on the Honda and I probably rode as well as I ever have in these conditions, but I lost too much time in the exit of the corners," said Laverty.

The victory in wet and miserable conditions went the way of 36-year-old Italian Valentino Rossi, who was, ironically, taking his maiden victory at Silverstone. His top step and 25 points takes Valentino one step closer to a tenth world title.

His Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo could only manage fourth place in the tricky conditions behind Rossi and the Ducati pair of Petrucci and Dovizioso, which leaves him 12 points adrift of Rossi at the top of the championship standings.

Laverty and his Power Electronics Aspar Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden started on the seventh row, but it was former champion Hayden who made the most of the conditions to take 12th position and four world championship points.

Both men are reputed to being negotiating deals in the World Superbike paddock for 2016, which would give both the Irishman and American competitive machinery to showcase their undoubted talent next term.

Today on the Isle of Man, the Classic TT races that everyone has been waiting for - the Formula 1 and 2 events - are scheduled to get under way at 1.30pm, but it's the 350cc Classic TT that will kick-start proceeding at 10.15am.

Fermanagh's Lee Johnston is the reigning 350cc Classic TT champion, and having posted the fastest lap (102.321mph) in qualifying on his MV Agusta, the little man from Maguiresbridge will be fired up for victory today.

Michael Rutter, riding a Ripley 350cc Honda was the only other rider in qualifying to lap in excess of 100mph, albeit some 22 seconds adrift of Johnston, but as Saturday's 500cc Classic TT proved with over 30 retirements, reliability is of paramount importance at the Manx.

In the Formula 1 class, no one will be betting against reigning champion Brice Anstey on the Padgetts 500cc 2-stroke Honda. The Kiwi had transponder problems during qualifying on Saturday, but if all the talk is correct of a 126mph lap then the rest are merely fighting for the lower podium positions.

Anstey aside, the next men to make their presence felt in qualifying have been Michael Dunlop (Team Classic Suzuki - 122.964mph), the inaugural winner of the F1 class, and Saturday's 500cc winner Dean Harrison (122.792mph).

Fermanagh's Lee Johnston will be more than content with a 350cc win this morning, but as Dunlop's team-mate on another of Steve Wheatman's immaculately prepared XR69 Suzukis, he can never be ruled out of podium contention.

In between the 350cc and Formula 1 and 2 races, fans will be treated to a Classic TT Lap of Honour (12.20pm)

Belfast Telegraph

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