Eugene Laverty 'surprised' by pace after impressive debut for new BMW team at Motorland Aragon
Eugene Laverty finally had the opportunity to make his debut for the RC Squadra Corse satellite BMW team as the Northern Ireland rider completed a three-day test at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
It was Laverty’s first time on the German manufacturer’s all-new M1000RR Superbike but the 34-year-old was quickly up to speed, ending the test sixth fastest overall in the unofficial standings.
The 2013 championship runner-up was also riding a Superbike in anger for the first time in six-and-a-half months, with Laverty admitting he was ‘surprised’ to be as quick from the off.
The Co Antrim native, who now lives close to the Portimao circuit in Portugal, is playing catch-up with his WSBK rivals after missing several pre-season tests.
Laverty, though, was feeling upbeat following three days on track at Motorland Aragon, where the first round of the 2021 championship will take place from May 21-23.
“First and foremost, I am so happy to be back on a bike after six-and-a-half months off,” he said.
“The big surprise for me was that after this period I was able to get back on my bike and within two exits be on a good pace. So we had three really good days, good weather, surprisingly fast lap times and my main focus has been to improve the braking performance and we did that.
“So, job well done and I am really happy with my RC Squadra Corse team. Now I am looking forward to the first round here at Aragon after our successful test.”
Laverty rode for the official BMW Motorrad World Superbike Team last season but was not retained for 2021, with old rival Tom Sykes getting the nod for the second seat after Dutchman Michael van der Mark was brought into the squad.
However, following confirmation of two new BMW satellite teams, Laverty was announced as the rider for the RC Squadra Corse outfit, while Jonas Folger signed to ride BMW’s new ‘M’ bike for Bonovo MGM Racing.
Yorkshireman Sykes was the fastest BMW rider at the Motorland test, slotting into fourth behind reigning champion and pacesetter Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who was under the pole lap record at the Spanish track with a time of 1m 48.528s.
Rea’s team-mate Alex Lowes was second quickest (1m 49.182s) ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu on the Pata Yamaha with Sykes next.
Laverty posted his best lap in 1m 50.604s for sixth behind Chaz Davies (Team Go Eleven Ducati), while Michael van der Mark was eighth fastest in 1m 50.781s and fellow BMW rider Jonas Folger ninth (1m 50.815s).
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