Eugene Laverty builds confidence in Ducati at Phillip Island test

Eugene Laverty on the Aspar Ducati at the Phillip Island test.
Eugene Laverty on the Aspar Ducati at the Phillip Island test.

Eugene Laverty focused on building his confidence with the Power Electronics Aspar Ducati at Phillip Island in Australia as the MotoGP rider returned to action after injuring his wrist in the opening test of 2016 at Sepang.

Laverty is desperate for track time after missing most of the three-day test in Malaysia earlier this month but was restricted to ten laps on Wednesday as wind and rain hampered the session.

The Toomebridge man made the most of better weather on day two to work on gaining a better feeling with the front end of the GP14.2 Desmosedici and although further adverse conditions affected the final day of the test on Friday, Laverty was relieved to finally make some progress as the countdown continues to the opening race of the MotoGP World Championship at the Losail International circuit in Qatar on March 20.

“Like yesterday I continued to build my confidence in the bike today and now we are working through some chassis settings to see how we can make it more suited to my style,” said Laverty, who ended the Australian test in 19th place on the combined times, setting his best lap in 1m 30.617s.

“I feel that we understand the way for the future but right now we need more performance. I don’t like being this far down the order, that’s for sure, but at least today my body feels better.

“After yesterday I felt pretty beaten up but today I feel physically much better so hopefully by Qatar I can be fully fit and ready for it.”

Laverty’s team-mate, Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez, was 18th fastest overall and only 0.125s ahead of the 29-year-old.

Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales headed the time sheets on the GSX-RR with a time of 1m 29.131 seconds, which put the young Spaniard a mere 0.027 seconds in front of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.

British rider Cal Crutchlow was an excellent third quickest on the combined times for the three-day test, lapping in 1m 29.348s on the LCR Honda.

World champion Jorge Lorenzo was the leading Yamaha rider (1m 29.357s) in fourth ahead of Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati).

Valentino Rossi was sixth fastest on the second of the Movistar Yamaha machines, 0.273s down on pace-setter Vinales, with Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) the top eight.

Bradley Smith was 13th on the Tech 3 Yamaha M1.