Friday performance, with Laverty and Savadori in top-5, shows battle for podium could be closer than ever
For the first time since Philip Island, the Milwaukee Aprilia team managed to put both of their riders inside the top-5 by the end of Friday. It is a refreshing return to form for the Italian manufacturer, who will be hoping to consolidate their comeback throughout the UK round weekend, after a disappointing start to the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season. They were the best team overall on Friday behind the KRTs, a strong sign that competition at Donington is fiercer than ever.
After shocking fans with his unexpected return two weeks ago at Imola, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) is finally 100% prepared to fully show his talents on the 2018 WorldSBK circuit. The Irishman struggled in the rain but found his pace in FP3, scoring the fifth best time of the day.
His Imola appearace was just to get the racing bug out of his system – at Donington, he’s ready to do battle: “Now I feel much better, the last two weeks it’s been great. After Imola I slept like a baby, I was completely exhausted. It was a shock to the system, that’s for sure! But it was just nice to get back on the bike in Imola, it was one race early and, like I said, it was just a gift to be back on-board. Our work restarts here at Donington”.
Having to constantly adapt to the changing weather conditions was a struggle for many riders on Friday, but Laverty struck where others couldn’t: “Off-line there were damp patches, so if you out-braked yourself, even to try and stop the bike and stay on the tarmac was difficult because it was so wet. With my style being precise, that helped me today, I was able to hit my apexes, pick my points, and manage to put some good laps together”.
His teammate Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) showed phenomenal Friday form once again, scoring the third best time of the day in the final minutes. Savadori has struggled to extend his undoubtable pace throughout the weekend this season, but will be presented with a fantastic opportunity at Donington.
Can he repeat this result in qualifying? “We need to check the grip with the qualifying tyre, and also the weather conditions”, warns Savadori. “I hope to make another step forward tomorrow”.
The Italian was nonetheless very satisfied with his Friday performance: “The weather wasn’t simple, we started the first session with rain, second session rain, the third one was the first dry. I hope to make another step tomorrow, because we need to work a little bit with the set-up of the bike, but I’m happy because Aprilia worked hard”.
Catch all the Superpole and Race 1 action, live tomorrow, June 26 from Donington, thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.