MotoGP: Eugene Laverty upbeat after first test on Aspar Ducati

Eugene Laverty on the Power Electronics Aspar Ducati.
Eugene Laverty on the Power Electronics Aspar Ducati.

Eugene Laverty completed the official two-day MotoGP test at Valencia in Spain in upbeat mood after his first outing on the Aspar Ducati GP14.2.

The Spanish team has switched to the Italian manufacturer for 2016 and Laverty was joined at the test by new team-mate Yonny Hernandez, who replaces Nicky Hayden after the American star’s exit from the premier class to ride for Ten Kate Honda in World Superbikes next year.

Northern Ireland man Laverty, who was forced to retire from the final race at Valencia on Sunday due to a foot injury, also had the chance to sample the new Michelin tyres that will be used in MotoGP next season as the company takes over from Bridgestone as the official supplier.

In only his second run, the 29-year-old managed to match the fastest time he had set on the Honda and Laverty left the Ricardo Tormo circuit satisfied with his progress before the onset of the winter testing ban, which kicks in on December 1 and runs until January 31.

“The most important thing was to finish this test in a positive way because we lost time over the past two days because I crashed three times. With just one bike we lost a lot of hours in repairs,” said Laverty, who was 17th fastest.

“We started off pretty quickly and on just my second outing I matched my best lap on the Honda, but the crashes slowed our progress. In the end we found the cause of the crashes, made some changes to the setting and then I could go fast.

“As far as the new tyres are concerned I think they can suit my style and I should be able to make the most of the good grip on the rear, which should suit the Ducati too,” he added.

“I am excited, there is plenty of reason for optimism. Even on my fastest lap today I sacrificed the right-handers because I’d had a few crashes there so I didn’t want to take any risks.”

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez topped the times from Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) and his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

New world champion Jorge Lorenzo was fifth quickest, with his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi seventh, four tenths off the top time set by Marquez.