Eugene Laverty feels this weekend’s eighth round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao in Portugal offers a chance to challenge for his second victory of the season on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki.
Laverty, though, isn’t yet fully fit and re-injured his foot at Misano in the previous round after initially sustaini a fracture at Phillip Island in Australia, where he was testing the Suzuki MotoGP machine.
The 28-year-old is currently ninth in the championship table after a difficult season on the GSX-R1000 but Laverty has vowed to keep fighting to return to the top step once more.
“In one respect I’m excited about Portimao because I believe that we are capable of fighting for the win,” he said.
“However, I re-injured my foot during race one at Misano so I’m not quite 100 per cent fit at the moment. Portimao is a circuit where the rider can make a real difference and I have a lot of experience there.
“My Voltcom Crescent Suzuki crew is working hard to improve my feeling with the GSX-R and we won’t give up until we reach that top step of the podium again.”
Laverty has tasted success at Portimao on each of his last two appearances and completed a successful test at the Portuguese circuit on the Suzuki in January.
The Northern Ireland rider will hope for a similar result on Sunday and should have every chance if the pain of his injured foot does not prevent him from riding at his maximum level.
Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea is also hoping for a return to the rostrum after the Larne man’s title challenge has faltered somewhat in the last few rounds.
Rea has dropped to fourth in the series and is 52 points behind Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes but also boasts an excellent record at Portimao, finishing in the top three seven times in his six-year WSBK career.
“I need to be really strong in the next couple of races because they take us to about two-thirds distance on the season and it’s important to carry some confidence and momentum into the final part of the year,” Rea said.