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MotoGP Qatar: ‘Huge step forward’ for Laverty in qualifying

Aspar Ducati’s Eugene Laverty dropped his laptime by more than a second in between today’s MotoGP free practice four and qualifying one sessions, and believes he could have gone even faster had he not encountered a gearbox problem just before he crossed the finish line on his quickest lap.

The Monegasque got down to a 1'56.186 from a 1'57.203 in the short time between sessions after pushing hard with a further setup tweak for the Michelin front tyre. Laverty also gathered useful data on a race run in free practice four and is now coming up with a plan for how differently the rear behaves with wear.

“Yesterday we had problems, basically losing an entire practice session. I got comfortable with the new bike and the new tyres in qualifying, so I pushed more. We made another small change in the same direction for the second tyre, and I set a fantastic lap with that. I got a 1’55.8 for my last lap, but I’d shifted to sixth gear before the finish line and lost a bit of pace when it didn’t work,” said Laverty.


“That dropped my time down to 1’56.1. I was really angry, because I lost about 3 tenths because of that. I’d done everything perfectly on the final two corners, but it came undone when the gear didn’t engage. The crew will check what the problem was, but it dropped us down one place on the grid. However, the important thing is that we took a huge step forward. We were behind before, but now we are catching up just in time.

“I tested out the bike on a medium duration run in FP4, and the bike does change a lot – especially with the rear tyre - so we will have to make a plan for the race with the electronics to give me some options.”

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