First back-to-back podiums for an Aprilia rider since 2015
Once he gets started, there’s no stopping Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Aprilia man took third place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, a repeat of his Laguna Seca Race Two result two weeks ago. But while at the US Round the Irishman benefitted from the reversed grid, starting from pole, here Laverty chained together an impressive Superpole 2 performance with an even mightier Race One showing, matching the pace of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and only being surpassed by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) near the end.
Before Laguna, Laverty hadn’t risen to the rostrum since 2014, but to find successive podiums you’d have to go back to the tail-end of his runner-up season in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, 2013. It also breaks a negative record for the Italian manufacturer of three years without one of their riders taking consecutive podium finishes (Leon Haslam, at the start of 2015, was the last one).
Laverty was ecstatic after his Saturday performance, despite losing second place to Davies: “It’s so nice to back up the podium from Laguna Seca with another one. Front row was a nice surprise, but we knew we could be in the fight for the podium with the others. Our pace has been good all weekend”.
A lack of grip has been the main issue keeping the Aprilia and Laverty away from the podium in many rounds this year, so the Irish rider has welcomed the benefits of a tighter track: “With the higher grip level on the asphalt, this bike stops better. At Laguna it was a little bit tougher because the asphalt was slippery – I couldn’t overtake as easily, it took me six or seven laps to overtake Tom in Race 1. This time I was able to do it right away, within one lap”.
Race Two will be tougher still for Laverty, but can he find his way to the podium from row three? Find out live from 13:00 local time (11:00 GMT) and OnDemand thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.