MOTORCYCLING: Eugene Laverty in form in Spain

Eugene Laverty on the Aspar Ducati at Aragon

Eugene Laverty on the Aspar Ducati at Aragon

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Eugene Laverty finished 14th in Sunday’s MotoGP race at Aragon in Spain to maintain his bid to finish inside the top ten in the championship this year.

The Aspar Ducati rider, who qualified in 16th place, was battling for 12th position with factory Ducati rider Michele Pirro when he ran off the track in the closing stages of the race, dropping two places.

Laverty was left to rue the mistake but said he was reasonably satisfied with his performance yesterday as he finished only five seconds behind the leading Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, who was 11th on the factory Desmosedici GP16.

“It wasn’t easy. The start of the race with the full tank was difficult but then I settled into it and got into a good rhythm with Pirro. I wanted to try and pass him towards the end and I got close in the slipstream on the brakes into the left-hander after the straight, but the front tyre was too soft and it started moving around and I ran off the track, which cost me a couple of positions. I could have been 12th and we ended up 14th,” Laverty said.

“Anyway, we’re not too far from the top Ducati so I think we can be quite content. For me the rear tyre wear wasn’t a big issue because with less grip it actually helps me a little to turn the bike but I was surprised with the condition of the front tyre so perhaps the harder tyre would have been the better choice today.”

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez won the race in dominant style from Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, who caught and passed team-mate Valentino Rossi in the final third of the race.

Rossi has now slipped 52 points behind Marquez in the championship battle with only four rounds remaining, while Lorenzo is threatening the ‘Doctor’ for second place, closing to within 14 points of the nine-time world champion.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow finished fifth on the LCR Honda behind Maverick Vinales (Ecstar Suzuki).

Motegi in Japan hosts round 15 on October 16.