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Laverty’s on track to pull back lost ground

The fifth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place tomorrow at Knockhill in Scotland . . . and it’s a track that should suit the characteristics of Toomebridge man Michael Laverty’s Swan-sponsored R1 Yamaha.

Laverty (pictured) has had a topsy-turvy start to the season, and although the former British Supersport champion has shown flashes of brilliance with his new team, he has yet to mount a serious title challenge.

At the previous round at Thruxton Laverty took the race one victory in damp conditions, but struggled to seventh place in race two.

He has moved up to fifth in the standings, which at this point of the season keeps him in the hunt for the top six Championship Shoot-Out at the final three rounds. But after three no scores already this season, a double podium in the Kingdom of Fife would certainly have a cathartic effect on the affable Ulsterman.

“After winning at Thruxton I am really looking forward to Knockhill this weekend and hopefully the conditions will be consistent throughout so we can have two good races,” said Laverty.

John Laverty and Ian Lowry will be looking for better luck with their Buildbase BMW team; both having struggled with the new German machinery thus far but Lowry remains optimistic.

“It’s another new track for us on the BMW so it’ll be an unknown quantity, but we’ll see what happens and give it our best shot.”

HM Plant Honda’s Shane Byrne currently holds a 15-point lead at the top of the BSB Championship over Californian John Hopkins on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki.

The former champion (2003 & 2008) has taken three victories this season on his HM Plant Honda, but Hopkins — a newcomer to the series — has also been mighty impressive with victory at Oulton, the first American to do so in the BSB series.

Third-placed man Stuart Easton, out for the remainder of the season after his horror smash at the North West 200, will be replaced by former EVO series leader Alex Lowes.

The 20-year-old set pole position last time out but couldn’t capitalise, although he obviously impressed MSS Discovery team boss Nick Morgan enough to get a contract for the rest of the year.

Fourth-placed man Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) should be back to his best at Knockhill after injuring himself at Oulton Park.

Alastair Seeley will lead the charge in the British Supersport Championship with Relentless Suzuki and Clogher man Keith Farmer leads the way in the Supersport 600 class.

Belfast Telegraph

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