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Points finishes for Laverty & Savadori from challenging Round 5 at Imola

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, 13/5/18

Riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori both scored for Milwaukee Aprilia this weekend at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, a track known for being technically challenging and demanding on bike agility.

Saturday’s Superpole sessions brought mixed fortunes. Eugene produced a strong effort of 1’47.636 in Superpole 1 to graduate to the pole position shootout and join Lorenzo in the top 12. He continued his impressive form to take P6 on the grid with a 1’46.692. Lorenzo struggled to find a rhythm on his hot lap, his best effort of 1’46.921 good enough to put him P9 on the grid for Race 1.

Eugene made a rapid getaway from the grid to take P3 by Turn 2, fighting with the trio of Davies, Melandri and Fores. Optimising the grip on new tyres he held P6 before Davies re-passed him after leaving the track. From there he struggled to maintain his pace, scrapping with teammate Lorenzo, Van der Mark and Rinaldi. Coming into the weekend only recently healed from a broken pelvis, Eugene knew his fitness would be put to test and finished admirably to take P12 and 4 points.

Lorenzo struggled for a good start and slipped back to P12. He began his march back up on Lap 2, passing Baz for P11. His progress continued, passing Haslam and then Lowes to take ninth, before battling briefly with teammate Eugene to finally bring his bike home P8, securing 8 points for the team.
Lorenzo and Eugene lined up P5 and P10 for Race 2. Lorenzo made a strong start, passing Sykes for P6 on the first lap. A small mistake allowed Sykes and Rea past, and Lorenzo moved to P8. From there his pace was consistent and he began to reel in Sykes ahead, but on lap 4 he lost the front at Turn 18 and crashed out of the race, bringing an unfortunate end to his points-scoring streak that began in Race 1 at Chang in March.

Eugene produced a stronger and more consistent performance, showing solid pace throughout as he raced with Lowes and Razgatlioglu throughout. He dropped to P13 at the start, but pushed his way through the pack to P10 by Lap 8. A mistake by Haslam elevated Eugene to P9, and he continued to push to take 7 points for the team in a display of determination and grit.

Round 6 of the WorldSBK championship takes place at the Donington Park circuit in UK, 25 – 27 May, and will mark the home race for SMR and Eugene Laverty.

Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF

Superpole 2 result: 1'46.692 - P6 on grid

Race 1 result: P12, 4 points

Race 2 grid: P10, Row 4

Race 2 result: P9, 7 points

"Superpole was really good, especially on the new tyre that helped alleviate the weaker areas on the bike. I made a good start in Race 1 and held onto the top 6 for a few laps, but then our grip problems returned and I couldn’t keep up.

We had a few changes to make overnight. We worked on rear grip and the wheelying, and we had to regain some of that for Sunday. I went pretty steady early in Race 2. I tried to hang in with the rear grip but the whole field was faster today. My pace was pretty consistent and the difference between my fastest and slowest laps was only about 0.8s.

It’s clear we are still missing pace to keep up with the leaders, but we knew this track wouldn’t be the best for our bike, which works better on fast flowing circuits rather than the tight twisty tracks like Imola. There was a huge improvement with the bike and my condition over Race 1, yesterday I was getting slower but today I kept up.

I’m optimistic for the next round at Donington Park. It’s one of those flowing circuits that should suit the bike well, so if we can get the set up tuned in we can do well. It’s been good to get back in the mix here at a tough circuit, so I want to really get stuck in at Donington.”

Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF

Superpole 2 result: 1'46.921 - P9 on grid

Race 1 result: P8, 8 points

Race 2 grid: P5 - Row 2

Race 2 result: Retired - crash

"It was a difficult Superpole session for me. I didn’t find the extra grip with a new tyre and it was difficult to push. My start in Race 1 was OK but not great. I pushed hard and caught up with the riders ahead, but I lost a lot of time at the beginning.

We struggled in the middle and exit of the corners here and that really hurt me in the race. It made it difficult to pass riders ahead and is really important for us to fix.

Race 2 was not a good result. I struggled at the beginning with a full fuel tank and the balance, but I got quite a good rhythm and passed Sykes back as soon as he took me. Then on Lap 4 I lost the front at Turn 18 but I am not sure why. We had some grip problems in warm up today, more than yesterday. I am really sorry to the team for the crash, I was really pushing hard trying to catch the other riders but it wasn’t good enough today.

We need to keep improving more and more, and the team has been working hard all year to make the bike stronger. Donington should be a good weekend for us and I think the bike will work better there."

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