Belfast Telegraph

Impressed Laverty feeling right at home back at Aprilia

By Paul Lindsay

Eugene Laverty's return to the World Superbike Championship with the factory-supported Milwaukee Aprilia team began this week at Jerez, and despite having to sample the Italian RSV4 machinery for the first time in wet conditions, the Monaco-based Ulsterman was impressed.

"It's very nice to be back on the Aprilia and I was surprised at how quickly I felt at home, as we only did 20 laps because it was wet," said Laverty, who finished second in the World Superbike Championship with Aprilia back in 2013 before his two-year stay in MotoGP

"It immediately felt like my bike again and after the first day back I'm very content."

Despite not really looking at lap times on days one and two on Monday and yesterday, the Toome man will be hoping to put his foot on the gas during today's final day of testing in Spain before entering the winter break.

Recounting yesterday's action on the track, Laverty said: "There were still some damp patches even though the track looked relatively dry.

"Thankfully the bike doesn't seem to react as much to the damp on the Pirelli tyres, whereas if I'd been on the MotoGP bike, I'd have been on my backside."

Despite not wanting to directly compare the two-year-old MotoGP Ducati that he campaigned this season against the Milwaukee Aprilia and the support he has been receiving this week from Aprilia's Noale-based factory technicians, Laverty did say: "It's pretty impressive to get on a bike for the very first time in the wet with no shifting issues, no engine-braking failure or traction control problems.

"When you are working with factory technicians that's what you get. That's a big positive for me.

"Without saying too much, that's the difference when you work with factory technicians who don't make mistakes."

Fellow Ulsterman and reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea was also on track at Jerez testing some new parts, as was WSB new boy Stefan Bradl who, like Laverty, has moved to the production-based series from the MotoGP circuit.

Lap times are not yet crucial, but Laverty was able to pinpoint the improvements on the Aprilia since he last rode it in 2013.

With a total of just 65 laps over the two days under his belt, he added: "The bike has improved since I last rode it for sure.

"The Aprilia guys had told me they'd made a big step in 2014 and I was able to see that.

"It proves why Sylvain (Guintoli) and Marco (Melandri) were dominating those last couple of rounds. The bike is a lot easier to ride."

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