Savadori quickest and Laverty third on Friday - so what’s the secret?
The weather was up and down on Day 1 Down Under at the Yamaha Finance Australian Round, but Milwaukee Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty got up front and stayed there to lead the charge to Tissot-Superpole 2 – only separated by Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team). It’s a return to frontrunning ways for both the team and Noale marque Aprilia, after a more difficult year in 2017.
Savadori, whose fastest in FP2 was the timesheet-topping 1:30.407 and three tenths clear of Camier, understandably says he’s happy with the start.
“I’m happy to start in first,” beams the Italian. “Of course, we need to work more – also for race pace – but we have one more session tomorrow morning to try that. Milwaukee Aprilia have worked a lot over the winter and we had some little problems during the test and we didn’t do a long run, but we can try it tomorrow morning to understand that.”
So whilst Savadori will be refining his target during FP4 on Saturday, Laverty has a clear target already, and was equally happy following Friday’s action. “It’s been a fantastic day. Testing’s been very smooth and to go out today and go straight to a one minute 30 in a few laps, that was a surprise for me looking at the dash!”
For the Irishman, it seems the devil is in the details this season.
“We haven’t changed the bike so much in terms of parts,” explains Laverty, “but it’s been a matter of getting the weight balance right and working with what we have. New parts doesn’t always mean faster, so we’ve kept things the same and really got the best out of the package we have.”
Finally, back to that target – which is, definitively, a top three finish.
“I’m going after that podium. We’ve been there in the top three and this year I think we should be more consistent on race tyres. In qualifying I’ll put a lap in, but it’s all about Race 1 and Race 2.”
Race 1 begins on Saturday at 15:00 local time at Phillip Island – that’s GMT + 11