Strong rides to fourth and ninth for Savadori and Laverty in Race 1 at Magny-Cours
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, 29/9/18
Milwaukee Aprilia took a front row start for Race 1 at Magny-Cours ahead of a solid points finish for both riders
Strong Free Practice pace saw Lorenzo Savadori automatically through to Superpole 2 shootout on Saturday, while teammate Eugene missed out and took part in Superpole 1.
Eugene looked set to progress to the shootout with good initial pace, but made an error in mistaking his final lap as good enough to progress, before he was pushed out of the top 2 in the last moments of the session, lining up P13 on the grid. A tight Superpole 2 session however saw a rapid Lorenzo take a season-best result of P3 behind Sykes and Rea with a 1'36.564, sitting on the front row for the first time this year.
At the start Lorenzo held position behind the Kawasakis ahead, finding his rhythm with a full tank of fuel, a recurring issue in previous races. Eugene lagged at the start, dropping to P14 in the first laps. Lorenzo lost P3 to Fores on Lap 2, and from that point matched him lap for lap on pace. Davies in P5 began to close in, but Lorenzo rallied his speed and rhythm to deny him and take another season-best result with a well-earned fourth place and 13 points.
Eugene behind had a more tense race, dicing with Gagne, Razgatlioglu and Baz. A crash for Rinaldi moved Eugene up a place, before he found his way past Gagne and Camier to take P11. Lowes ahead crashed out, giving Eugene P10 and a good shot at bigger points. The middle stage of the race saw him battle with Baz and then Razgatlioglu, finding a way past both to take P8 before the latter passed on the final lap to put Eugene in his final position of P9 with 7 points.
For Race 2 Lorenzo and Eugene line up P1 and P6 respectively on Rows 1 and 4, under the reverse grid rules. With a great opportunity from the sharp end of the grid and a strong performance in Race 1 to draw on, a podium finish is the team's goal in the final European race of the 2018 WorldSBK season.
Race 2 at #FrenchWorldSBK starts at 15:15 local time (GMT +1) on Sunday 30th September
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
“We knew qualifying was going to be challenging. Eugene just missed out yesterday on Superpole 2, we made a rookie error similar to earlier this year; he put a good lap in in SP1 which we thought was good enough but then he got bumped down at the end. Starting from P13 he paid the price for it when we knew he could have been on the first row. On the other side of the garage Lorenzo was building and building, put a qualifier in and did a fast lap good enough for P3 on his own without a tow, which was really positive.
I think Lorenzo was the star of the day, he got a good start and held his own with a full fuel tank which he has been working really hard on. Fores got past and they were on identical pace, but considering what happened in Race 1 at Portimao he used his head, came home fourth and held of Davies, and I applaud him for that. He starts from pole tomorrow which he deserves and we’ll be hoping for another good performance from him.
Eugene rescued the bad situation he qualified in. He struggled with his race pace and battled up to ninth, which puts him P6 for tomorrow. Race pace will be a factor for him tomorrow no doubt, but with him starting higher up hopefully we can get both riders at the sharp end and certainly a podium shot with Lorenzo.”
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1'40.901, +0.196 - P4 on grid
Race 1 result: DNF
Best race lap: 1'42.547
Race 2 grid: P11 - Row 4
“Qualifying was really positive. Third today was the maximum for us, but I’m happy to return to the first row. It is a good reward for the team who worked really hard to repair the bike after my crash this morning, and they prepared a perfect bike for qualifying.
In the race we struggled with rear grip for a long time, I tried to stay in a podium position but the Kawasakis were far ahead and I was nearly on the limit to keep up.
It was difficult to pass Fores for third again and I had to manage the gap behind to Davies, but P4 was a good result after the previous race and I hope to make another step tomorrow from pole.”
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 1 result: 1'37.617, P13
Race 1 result: P9, 7 points
Best race lap: 1'38.146
Race 2 grid: P6 - Row 2
“I made a mistake in SP1, I thought I was safe because the gap to third was so big but then Razgatlioglu caught me off guard and pushed me down to P13 which was a shame.
Starting low down was difficult but I made some headway and made it through to P9. I had a couple of battles on the way and it was basically damage limitation and a tough race.
The reverse grid will help us and gives me a better chance for a result from P6, but we need to make a step forward on the rear tyre. It just wasn’t working properly today and I didn’t have confidence in it, so hopefully the guys can get on top of it tonight and we’ll have a better time tomorrow.”