Top-six eludes disappointed Eugene Laverty in Italy

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki's Eugene Laverty at Imola
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki's Eugene Laverty at Imola

Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty was left disappointed after failing to break into the top six at the fourth round of the World Superbike Championship in Italy.

The Toome man, last year’s series runner-up, struggled with engine-braking issues with his Yoshimura-powered Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Imola, finishing seventh and ninth respectively in the two 19-lap races.

Laverty had been hoping for a boost at the Italian track after twice crashing out in round three to leave Assen empty-handed, but the 27-year-old was unable to create the impression he wanted.

He will now attempt to rectify the problem with the Suzuki during Monday’s official World Superbike test at Imola before the team returns back to the UK to prepare for round five at Donington Park on May 25.

“A tough day and disappointing for both me and the team. We have a new strategy to work on tomorrow, to help our engine braking, which should be a good step and this is probably the best track to try it,” Laverty said.

“The problem was highlighted so badly here that if we are going to improve it anywhere it’s going to be here. On to Donington and I’m determined to get back to the front group.”

Team manager Paul Denning conceded that Sunday’s races yielded few positives for Laverty but is determined to improve the GSX-R package from the data gathered at today’s test.

“A tough weekend didn’t get a lot easier on race day here at Imola, particularly for Eugene,” Denning said.

“We just didn’t find anything close to the right combination to allow him to ride as we know he can; two frustrating races for him and not too-many positives to draw from them.

“Probably the most important day for us now will be tomorrow. We hope the weather will be kind and we get to run through some important changes and some important test items to get back to where we know the GSX-R can be.”