Belfast Telegraph

Eugene Laverty is signing off in style as he eyes move back to World Superbikes

By Paul Lindsay

If the grapevine rumours are true and Eugene Laverty is on his way to the World Superbike Championship in 2017, then the Toome rider will be sorely missed in the world's premier class, after another amazing performance yesterday in Brno, taking sixth place at the Czech MotoGP round for his Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati team.

Laverty fought his way back from 18th place in the early exchanges, but was openly delighted with his sixth placed finish, albeit frustrated. More impressive was the fact, that he finished just under four seconds behind third placed man, and current MotoGP championship leader, Marc Marquez, on the factory Repsol Honda.

Recounting his race, the Monaco based Ulsterman said: "The start of the race was the most difficult. I went with the hard rear wet tyre and that's why I'm a little disappointed with myself, as I lost about three of four places on the opening lap after a small mistake.

"It was so hard to gain places and I could only overtake when the guys on the softer tyre started to go backwards. I'm really angry with myself for the mistake on that opening lap, as the bike was good enough for a podium today."

Just as the Toomebridge ace explained, the wet race came down to tyre choice, with LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow taking his maiden GP win, having opting for the hard compound wet combination of Michelin rubber, both front and rear.

His victory made it six different winners from the last six races in MotoGP, but more importantly for British fans, he's the first British winner for 35 years in the premier class.

Ironically the Coventry man - who is married to a Northern Irish girl - carries the number 35 plate on his LCR Honda. And to top it all, his crew chief is none other than former top flight national road and circuit racer, Belfast man Chris Richardson.

Multiple world champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) came through the pack himself to take second place, sporting the rubber of choice, a hard rear Michelin.

Third placed man Marquez remains at the head of proceedings on 197 points, from Rossi on 144, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (138) slipping to third after a disastrous round, which saw him score no points, and lapped by the leading contenders after changing bikes to a dry set-up.

Laverty, who holds 11th place on 63 points, just three behind race winner Crutchlow, is already looking ahead to the next round of the championship at Silverstone.

"Let's pray for more rain at Silverstone and we can save that podium finish to then," smiled Laverty. "We know we can be strong at Silverstone in the wet, so I'm just hoping for more rain."

Speaking of the final laps, he added: "I started to really push on those last three laps, because I could see Marquez. In the end, it wasn't about how many laps were left, more the mistake I made at the start, which cost us the podium today.

"In the wet conditions we know we can be really strong. I want some more rain, so I can go after that podium."

The 12th round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place at Silverstone on September 4 - so all Irish fans please start your rain dance 24-hours earlier!

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph