Superpole 2 start for Milwaukee Aprilia in Thailand
Chang International Circuit , 23/3/18
Milwaukee Aprilia had a steady start to Round 2 on Friday in Thailand, rider Eugene Laverty progressing straight to the pole shootout as his teammate Lorenzo Savadori returned from injury.
Laverty had a strong morning session, ending Free Practice 1 in P2 with a 1'34.249 lap, +0.289 from the top. He was able to find even more pace for FP2, and beat his own time by over 0.3 seconds with a 1'33.851 that put him P1 at the end of the session. FP3 ran in cooler conditions that slowed the track down, with Laverty involved in a minor collision with another rider that required him to box for repairs. He was back on track quickly, eventually finishing the session P12 with a 1'34.186. His morning efforts were enough to secure a place in the pole shootout for the second consecutive round, as the team continue their rapid development and improvement.
Savadori is back to riding duties after sustaining a broken collarbone in qualifying at Round 1. Accepting Round 2 as a weekend of damage limitation as he gets back to full fitness, Savadori put in a good number of laps in the morning to finish P15 with a 1'35.441. He found an impressive 0.8s in the afternoon's FP2 to finish P14 with a 1'34.676, and found a further 0.7s to finish FP3 in P10 with a 1'33.986, just +0.6s off first place in an impressive recovery display. Though still required to fight in Superpole 1 for a place in the pole shootout, he showed consistent improvements.
The team can take positives from both riders finishing the day within 0.6s of the front. Their encouraging form at Phillip Island and testing laid a strong foundation for the Aprilia to develop further, and they are targeting the big points this weekend.
Free Practice 4 begins on Saturday 24th at 10:45 local time (GMT +7), ahead of Superpole 1 at 13:30, Superpole 2 at 13:55, and Race 1 at 16:00.
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
FP1: 1'34.249 - P2
FP2: 1'33.851 - P1
FP3: 1'34.186 - P12
Combined result: 1'33.851 - P9 - Superpole 2 automatic entry
“We finished today really strong. In the morning session we were fast and the bike was working well, and then the second practice was fantastic and we managed to finish P1.
I struggled in the last session honestly. The temperature dropped and the grip of the track increased, which seemed to help others but not us so much. That's good information for us to work with tonight, and I know the guys will have some changes to make ahead of the race.
It was good to make Superpole 2 again, and top ten after practice was a decent result considering the tough afternoon. I think we can have a good session and the podium has to be our goal in the race."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
FP1: 1'35.441 - P15
FP2: 1'34.676 - P14
FP3: 1'33.986 - P10
Combined result: 1'33.986 - P11 - Superpole 1 entry
“It was a difficult day for me really, like I expected it to be. I still have some pain in my collarbone particularly through the heavy braking areas and chicanes, but I just have to grit my teeth and do the best I can.
We made some really good progress through today and the bike was working well. We are following a new set up path that worked well in Phillip Island, and that has helped to find more speed. Of course I still need to do more laps to be 100%, but we have more useful time in the morning.
Everyone in the field is close after today we can see, but I can't say yet where we will be after Superpole. I hope to make the fight for pole position, and for the race I will give my best effort for points."