Factory Aprilia star Eugene Laverty escaped unscathed from a fourth gear high-side during a two-day World Superbike test at Jerez in Spain.
Laverty, who takes over as the number one rider in the Italian team following the retirement last season of reigning world champion Max Biaggi, bounced back to set the third fastest time of the test on Wednesday.
And the 26-year-old declared himself satisfied with the pre-season shakedown as he looks ahead to next month’s opening round of the championship at Phillip Island in Australia.
Improved weather on the second day of the test offered riders the chance to make the most of a dry track at Jerez after persistent rain hampered progress on Monday.
Northern Ireland contender Laverty, who finished sixth overall in the standings last season and scored his maiden Aprilia victory at Portimao in Portugal, ended the final day of the Spanish test 0.285s behind his former Yamaha teammate Marco Melandri on the Goldbet BMW S1000RR.
Melandri was credited with the fastest lap in 1m 40.758s, although an official press statement from Kawasaki claimed last year’s championship runner-up, Tom Sykes, had posted the top time in 1m 40.5s.
However, neither Sykes nor his teammate, Jules Cluzel, were listed among the unofficial times as both tested without transponders on their Ninja ZX10R machines.
Laverty, who recently told the News Letter only a genuine challenge for the world title this year will suffice, said his crash was due to a lack of grip.
“Despite the less than perfect conditions of the track we were able to do some good work.
“The crash was due to a loss of grip when I tried pushing beyond the track grip limit, but it didn’t compromise the test,” Laverty said.
“Now I’m ready to fly to Australia where we’ll finally be able to put these values to work for us on the track.”
He later wrote on Twitter: ‘Nice little fourth gear highside and landed on my left shoulder. All three Aprilias crashed within the space of half an hour!’
Althea Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano – fastest in the wet on Monday – was second quickest on the RSV4 ahead of Laverty.
British rider Leon Camier on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki was fourth ahead of Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea, who continues to struggle with a new electronics system on his Fireblade.
The Honda team is testing an electronics package that is being developed by HRC in MotoGP.
A further World Superbike test will be held at Phillip Island next month prior to round one of the championship at the spectacular Australian venue on February 24.
TIMES: 1 M Melandri (BMW) 1m 40.758s; 2 D Giugliano (Ducati) +0.104s; 3 E Laverty (Aprilia) +0.285s; 4 L Camier (Suzuki) +0.425s; 5 J Rea (Honda) +0.883s; 6 S Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.925s.