IN THE THAI RACE AT CHANG, EUGENE LAVERTY CRASHES: HE NEEDS A FEW WEEKS TO RECOVER. ALL THE TEAM AND THE FANS WILL WAIT TO SEE HIM FOR THE THIRD ROUND, IN ARAGON ON THE 13-15 APRIL 2018. GOOD LUCK!
Chang International Circuit (Thailand), 25/3/18 – Milwaukee Aprilia scored 7 consolation points in Race 2 at Chang with Lorenzo Savadori, but missed out on more after a crash for Eugene Laverty on lap 4. Starting P6 Laverty looked set for a promising result on Sunday. From the start he was mixing with the leading riders, fighting closely with Fores and Davies. Problems quickly developed with his front tyre however, and he began to fall back towards Torres in P9. His tyre finally gave up at Turn 6 on lap 4, and tucked under causing Eugene a low-side crash. Torres was close behind and was caught up in the accident, hitting Eugene on the ground and falling from his own bike. Eugene was taken to the medical centre for treatment and was experiencing lower back pain. He was later taken to local hospital and diagnosed with a broken right-hand side pubic ramus bone. No surgery is needed as the bone is not weight-bearing when standing, but will require intensive recuperation for Eugene.
Lorenzo rode another gritty and determined race, competing in the lower points initially before moving up the field albeit as other riders retired. He again showed his fighting spirit as he held on to P9 from lap 7 until the end to take 7 points, despite the considerable pain from his collarbone injury. Though the weekend did not bring the team the results they had hoped for they can take encouragement from Lorenzo's battling rides whilst not at his peak ability, and wish Eugene a speedy recovery from his racing incident. The Superbike Word championship now heads to the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain for the start of the first European stint of races, from 13 - 15 April.
Shaun Muir, Team Principal: "It was cruel luck for Eugene today. We made significant improvements overnight and his times in morning warm up showed that he had strong pace for Race 2. The injuries he sustained in his crash on lap 4 are serious enough that he will be sidelined for a number of weeks, but it's too early to say how long for. The focus today is to get Eugene stable and back home as soon as he is fit to travel. Lorenzo dug deep today, and all credit to him for delivering two strong point-scoring races just four weeks after breaking his collarbone. Hopefully he will be back to full strength for Aragon and ready to challenge at his peak again. In light of Eugene's injuries we have got to take positives from the weekend. Our package is clearly getting more and more competitive, and we are there at the sharp end. We head into a busy European race stint now, and we aim to continue building on our strong start to 2018."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF. Grid: P12. Race 2 result: P9 - 7 points. Total weekend points score: 11 points. "It was another difficult race for me dealing with the pain, and even this morning the warm up was hard after yesterday's race. I had an OK start and maintained a good rhythm, as much as I could with my shoulder. The bike felt good and it was useful data for me in my first two races this year. It was a difficult weekend overall for me and it was frustrating to not push 100% for the races. But, it was positive to go home with 11 points in the championship, which I think is a good result. Also I am really sorry for Eugene and I hope he is OK after his crash today, and I hope we can race together soon. Ahead of Aragon I need to assess my condition again, I want to arrive at maximum fitness and that is my focus at the moment. We are following a good development path from Phillip Island, and I'm looking forward to continuing it in Spain."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF. Race 2 grid: P6. Race 2 result:DNF. Total weekend points score:7 points.
CHALLENGES AT CHANG FOR MILWAUKEE APRILIA IN RACE 1.
Chang International Circuit, 24/3/18 – Milwaukee Aprilia had a challenging Race 1 at Chang on Saturday, with riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori both scoring despite separate issues on track. Superpole 1 saw Lorenzo fight for a place in the pole position shootout, his practice times not quite enough to give him automatic entry. He delivered a result in style however, setting his fastest lap of 1'33.956 in the last moments of the session to earn a well-earned place in Superpole 2. Teammate Eugene was the first rider on track in SP2, initially going fastest as the rest of the field turned up the wick and lap times began to drop. Setting his best lap of 1'33.119 on his final run, he lined up P8 on a tight-knit grid, 0.3s from pole. Lorenzo completed only two laps in the session, conserving his strength for the race. Setting a 1'33.450 lap on his first run, he lined up a respectable P11.
At the race start both riders held their position as the pack rushed into Turn 1, exploiting the Aprilia's power on the straight to fend off the opposition. Eugene ran consistently for the first three laps, before a problem with the fuel overflow on his bike caused him to slow as he tried to prevent further issues for himself. Running alone for most of the race, he fought hard with Lowes and Van der Mark for P8 before falling back again. He looked set to finish P10 before a strong last-lap pass on Torres at Turn 3 put him P9, earning the team 7 points. Lorenzo's race ran at a different pace, with his injury preventing him from utilising his abilities to the full. He ran most of the race in P11, seeing off challenges from Razgatlioglu. He was passed for position by Baz on lap 14, but was able to hold his place and bring home 4 points in an admirable display of grit and determination. Morning warm up on Sunday takes place at 11:30 local time (GMT +7), ahead of the final Race 2 at 16:00.
Shaun Muir, Team Principal: "There were two different types of race for our riders today. Lorenzo rode excellently to salvage the result he did while recovering from a broken collarbone. Respect is due to him for pushing on and finishing the race well, and if he can do the same tomorrow we can consider it a job well done by him. Eugene has some hope for Race Two by starting P6 on the grid. His race was almost as we predicted it would be, he found some good pace in the middle stage to hang on to the sixth to tenth riders. He also had a small issue with his fuel overflow which caused him some problems in the early laps. Generally we have some positive set up changes that we can make overnight. I think with a better start tomorrow we can improve on today's result and score some good points."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF. Superpole 2 result: 1'33.119 - P8 on grid. Race 1 result: P9 - 7 points. “We did a pretty strong lap on the qualifying tyre in Superpole 2. I was surprised how close the field was in that session, we were P8 which wasn't great but only 0.3s off pole, so the lap time was decent. In the race I made a good start but there was no room before Turn 1 to make up positions, and I got held up. There was a problem with the fuel overflow that made things harder, and I lost quite a bit of time managing that in the middle of the race. I was able to chase the pack down and take P9 for some more points, but it was a disappointing result no doubt. I start P6 on the grid for Race 2 which should help us get a better result, and that's why I was pushing so hard at the end, to make up that position. The bike is still lacking some agility, which hurts me in the tight sections, and we need to work on that. The engine is fantastic and working really well here though, we're one of the quickest in the speed trap and that's a really good tool to have."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF. Superpole 1 result: 1'33.956 - P1. Superpole 2 result: 1'33.450 P11 on grid. Race 1 result: P12 - 4 points. "Qualifying was quite a good result for me, I knew the target position we could push for but it was not easy to move fully on the bike with my injury. I made a small mistake on the qualifying tyre in Superpole 1 and could maybe have found some more time, but I was happy to move into Superpole 2. My collarbone was hurting a lot during the race, but I really wanted to finish and to get some points for the team. It was really difficult for me to push honestly, but P12 was a positive result for us I think. I need to have some recovery time tonight to be fit for tomorrow, and I want to say thank you to the medical team here for helping me this week and to the team for their support. I hope we can have a better result tomorrow with more points, and I will try really hard to do that."
(Photo source: Milwaukee Aprilia Racing).