Challenging start for Milwaukee Aprilia in Laguna Seca Race 1
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 8th July 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia managed to recover 6 points from a disappointing Race 1 at Laguna Seca, with a 10th place finish for Lorenzo Savadori and a retirement for Eugene Laverty.
The Superpole sessions showed promise for the team, Lorenzo producing a strong display to go quickest in Superpole 1 session and join Eugene in the pole position shootout. Eugene, having run strongly in the Free Practice sessions, ended Superpole 2 P5 on the grid, his best qualifying result of the year. Lorenzo eventually finished P10, after a mistake cost him time on his quickest lap.
Eugene made a strong start in the race, maintaining his 5th position behind the frontrunners. However an issue with his front tyre caused him to lose grip and feeling, and eventually resulted in him crashing at Turn 3 before the half-way mark.
Lorenzo made a steady getaway, holding his own in the midfield and scrapping with the likes of Torres and Camier. With his own front grip issues, he was able to consolidate his place in 10th and take home 6 points for the team.
The team are still confident of a good showing in Race 2 on Sunday after the pace they have shown so far, and will give their full efforts tonight to ensure a deserved strong result tomorrow.
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid: P10 Race: P10, 6 points
“The Superpole sessions were not so bad today, especially compared to Free Practice yesterday. I made a good lap time in SP1 to go quickest, but in SP2 I made a mistake at the last corner and lost a quick lap time.
It wasn't easy to start P10 for the race. I tried to push at the beginning to make positions, but I had to be careful not to push too hard and damage the rear tyre. I found a good rhythm, but the front grip was getting lower and lower and I was riding right at the limit. It was really difficult to overtake because of this, but I was able to maintain position and take P10.
We need to stay positive because we know there is good speed to find. We were much quicker today that yesterday, and I will work hard with the guys tonight to make improvements for Race 2. We know a good direction to go in and it is important that we move forward.”
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid: P5 Race: Retired
“All weekend we have been in the top 5 and it was really nice to consolidate that in Superpole today with our best result in P5. Our pace was what we hoped and expected, at the tail-end of the top four as they have been all year.
Unfortunately in the race, I got a good start but the front bikes were just running away. I had really bad feeling in the front and so little grip, and I was just trying to hold on before I dropped it just under half distance. It was very frustrating as the bike has felt great all weekend and then suddenly bad in the race. Pirelli are looking into it, because the tyre didn't look normal and may have been defective.
I don't want to tempt fate too much ahead of Race 2 because we should have run well today. Hopefully we can learn what caused the crash today; if it was a tyre issue then we know the bike is in a good position. The rear tyre was holding up well which it hasn't previously, so there are good points to take from today."
Mick Shanley, Team Manager
“The outcome from the race wasn't representative of what we've achieved this weekend. Eugene has been consistently strong in Free Practice and he was fast in Superpole. Lorenzo struggled at first in practice but found speed today.
Unfortunately it seems we had a front tyre issue which didn't allow Eugene to push like he has the rest of the weekend, and ultimately ended up with him crashing, and that is something we need to investigate with Pirelli.
Lorenzo made a definite step forward today from yesterday. Superpole was a good performance from him on the race tyre, and we just need to find a little more pace and stability for him to push with. Overall it was a frustrating day after the promise shown, but we know we have speed and we'll see what we can achieve tomorrow."