Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty said he found it virtually impossible to finish Sunday’s MotoGP race at Jerez in Spain after suffering problems with his forearms.
Laverty, who had qualified in 17th place, finished one place lower in 18th overall on the Power Electronics Aspar Honda as the Toomebridge man continues to seek his first premier class points this season.
The race was won by Jorge Lorenzo on the Movistar Yamaha, who dominated from start to finish to win by more than five seconds from Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi on the second of the factory Yamaha M1s in a largely processional race at the Spanish track.
Laverty, who had made an encouraging start to the weekend in free practice on Friday, said: “Yesterday evening we did not have a good feeling, with the lack of traction, so this morning we made some changes in the warm-up session.
“Thanks to that we greatly improved the set-up of the bike, I managed to have more grip and be more consistent. This allowed me to start the race very well and safely at first.
“The changes made have helped us gain grip but affected the geometry of the bike. So we carried a lot of weight on the rear and every time we accelerated strongly the front needed a lot of control, so my arms were overworked,” he explained.
“From the sixth lap I started to notice that I was putting pressure on my forearms. I was able to control pain for ten laps but when the bike started to slide in the final part of the race, it was almost impossible for me to ride.
“We have discovered how to improve the grip, which is something positive, but now we need a more balanced bike to avoid overuse of the forearms.”
Rossi, who continues to lead the championship standings by 15 points from Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, claimed a record 200th Grand Prix podium as ‘The Doctor’ continues to set new milestones in his stunnig career.
He is 20 points clear of Lorenzo in third place, with reigning world champion Marquez 26 points off the top after he crashed out in Argentina at the previous round.
British rider Cal Crutchlow was a lonely fourth on the CWM LCR Honda at Jerez with the top six completed by Pol Espargaro on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine and Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, who ruined his front row start after accidentally activating the wet engine mapping setting on his GP15 instead of launch control moments before the start of the race.
Italy’s Dovizioso also encountered problems as the factory Ducati rider ran off the course at the final turn into the gravel trap at the end of the second lap, dropping to the rear of the field.
Dovizioso faced an uphill task but managed to claw his way back to finish ninth behind Briton Bradley Smith.
The next round of the championship takes place at Le Mans in France on May 17.