Copyright Milwaukee Aprilia

Laverty takes point scoring honours in disappointing Race 1

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit , 24/2/18

Milwaukee Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty scored 8 points in eighth as he struggled with front tyre issues in Race 1 at Phillip Island
Riding solo after team mate Lorenzo Savadori was declared unfit following a Superpole 2 crash, Laverty delivered an impressive 1'30.746 lap to start P2 on the grid, equalling his best qualifying result riding for Milwaukee Aprilia.

After an initial fast getaway from the grid he dropped to P5, battling hard with Fores and Davies for fourth. He dropped behind his rivals to P6 and held his position for five laps before mixing with Lowes and Van der Mark in a tense fight. Both passed Eugene as his front tyre life began to drop, a battle with Camier adding further pressure. Running in P9 Eugene shadowed Van der Mark closely, eventually passing him on lap 19 to finish P8.

Following the race where a number of riders struggled with tyre issues, concerns with tyre safety amongst teams was made public. The concerns were such that Pirelli called a meeting with the WorldSBK teams and advised that Race 2 will be run as a flag to flag with two stints, meaning that teams will have to stop at least once to change the rear tyre within 12 laps of the start.

With good pace shown in Free Practice and Superpole 2 the Milwaukee Aprilia team can take some positives from Saturday with confirmation of the progress they have made with the Aprilia. Eugene will start Race 2 from P5 on the grid with another opportunity to score for the team.

Milwaukee Aprilia will next be on track in Warm Up on Sunday 10:30-10:45 local time (GMT +11) ahead of the weekend's final race at 15:00.

Shaun Muir - Team Principal

"The situation today has been difficult to accept after qualifying so well. Superpole was extremely good for Eugene finishing P2, but bittersweet with Lorenzo crashing out. He suffered a broken collarbone which will require surgery, but on the positive side it's a quick recovery and he'll be back for Chang next month.

The race was a big disappointment, and it's now been well publicised that there was a major tyre issue at the circuit. We've had a meeting with Pirelli and other teams to discuss this and the decision for a flag to flag Race 2 was made. Irrespective of that we weren't as badly affected as other teams were by the tyres, particularly the rear which some suffered with. Our issue was a badly worn front tyre, which is something that didn't happen in the four days we've been running here. 

We still need to get down to the reason for that, as we should be able to competently run in the 1'31 laps with the same tyres we start on, and today that would have put is in a podium position. There was clearly an issue with our tyre allocation but with tomorrow's ruling being a one-off hopefully we can forget today and finish Round 1 on a high."

Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF

Superpole 2 result:

1'30.746 - P2

Race 1 result:

P8 - 8 points

Race 2 grid:

P5

“The qualifying was fantastic, and we knew we could do well after strong testing and Free Practice. Every time we went out on the new tyre we went straight to the top, and we did that in Superpole which was very encouraging.

The race was pretty horrible really. I started OK on the fresh tyres but got a bit battered on the first lap, and then the front tyre lost its edge and I was just going backwards. The wind caused me some issues out there as it was getting under the front of the bike and lifting it, and by mid-distance I'd destroyed the rubber. 

We're still optimistic for tomorrow, and the announcement of a flag to flag race could make it interesting. For sure the result today didn't show our true potential and I was disappointed that we couldn't deliver, but we have Race 2 to make up for it and I'll give it my best shot."

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