Belfast Telegraph

Laverty sets the pace at testing time in Spain

By Frank Brownlow

Eugene Laverty has set a new unofficial track record during testing at Jerez in Spain.

World Superbike ace Laverty was fastest on a day when temperatures did not go much above 12 degrees, recording an impressive one minute 40.185 seconds, the new unofficial Jerez track record for the production-based bikes.

“This was a very good test for us and the lap time shows that,” said the Toomebridge rider.

“We did almost 250 laps in all. It was nice to set the fastest lap so we can go into the winter break in a good mood.

“I didn't expect to go so fast but we made great progress with the front of the bike, allowing me to push it more than ever.

“We're all set for next season,” added the 26-year-old, who begins his 2013 world title bid at Phillip Island in Australia in late February.

Laverty was a shade quicker than Tom Sykes, the Kawasaki rider who had set the benchmark in the first two days of testing.

The British rider was credited with an unofficial time of 1min 40.400.

Another man on top form was Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia Red Devils), third quickest ahead of Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, who was yesterday revealed as the Aprilia Racing Team's second rider alongside Laverty.

Guintoli takes the place of world champion Max Biaggi, who has retired. Guintoli, (30), raced on an Aprilia in the 250 GP class from 2001 to 2006, boasting two seasons in MotoGP, 2007 and 2008. He made his WSBK debut in the last race of the 2009 season.

In the last three years in World Superbikes, Guintoli has taken a total of 10 podiums with three wins and a pole position, always finishing the championship in the top 10.

It was the first day of work for BMW, with Marco Melandri and new signing Chaz Davies, as well as for Ducati Alstare with former champion Carlos Checa and their new rider Ayrton Badovini.

These two teams will complete testing today, sharing track time with several MotoGP teams.

Aprilia and Kawasaki have both concluded their final winter test run of the year before the regulation six-week ban kicks in from tomorrow until mid-January.

Times: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'40”185 (80 laps); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'40”400 (55); 3. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'40”956 (60); 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'41”239 (60); 5. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'41”500 (45); 6. Melandri (BMW) 1'41”800 (82); 7. Hofmann (Aprilia) 1'42”103 (33); 8. Checa (Ducati) 1'43”089 (44); 9. Davies (BMW) 1'43”400 (47); 10. Neukirchner (Ducati) 1'43”613 (48); 11. Badovini (Ducati) 1'43”613 (38).

Belfast Telegraph


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