Eugene Laverty’s stunning second season in the MotoGP World Championship continued as the Aspar Ducati rider claimed a brilliant sixth place at Brno in the Czech Republic..
Laverty made amends in style after he was knocked off at the final corner on the last lap in Austria last weekend as he battled for 11th place with Italian rider Danilo Petrucci.
Sunday's race was held in the wet, with British star Cal Crutchlow becoming the first rider from the UK to win a premier class race since Barry Sheene triumphed in the 500cc Grand Prix class 35 years ago in Sweden in 1981.
Crutchlow gambled by fitting two hard compound wet tyres on his LCR Honda and the strategy paid off as he stormed through on a drying track late in the race to secure a memorable win by more than seven seconds from Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
Laverty also made a shrewd choice as he started with a hard rear on his Desmosedici GP14.2, although the 30-year-old from Toomebridge was disappointed with himself after losing ground on the opening lap of the race.
However, he regrouped and began to pick up places as the race progressed and could have been on target to equal his best ever result of fourth place from Argentina this season before running out of time.
“The start was the most difficult. I went with the hard rear wet tyre and that's why I'm a little disappointed with myself, because I braked at turn 3 like in the warm-up at the start, and because of the hard rear the bike bumped up,” Laverty explained.
“I lost four or five positions there and it was so hard to gain places. I could only really overtake when they started to go backwards. I'm angry with myself for the start, because the bike was good for a podium today, but we'll save that for next time. Let's pray for more rain at Silverstone,” added Laverty, referring to his upcoming home round of the championship, which takes place on September 4.
“We know we can be strong, so I'm just hoping for more rain.”
Laverty was growing stronger as the race reached a conclusion and felt he even had a chance to catch championship leader Marc Marquez to challenge for the final place on the podium.
“I used the hard rear tyre and the guys around me had the soft tyre. Every time I was with them in the corner, the rear grip meant they disappeared. I tried to come back, and every time it happened they held me up because I couldn't overtake them,” he said.
“I was lapping slower than I wanted to. I really enjoyed the final laps. It was so important to be smooth with the gas, because there wasn't so much grip.
“I started to really push on the last three laps, because I could see Marquez there. 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,” added Laverty, who is 11th in the standings.
“In the wet conditions we know we can be really strong. In the warm-up this morning I was fastest until one minute was left. When it's really wet, we can be strong. Even in these conditions we can be really strong, except for the first laps. I want some more rain, so I can go after the podium.”