The ASPAR rider got the maximum out of the weekend at Losail and is hoping for the same this Sunday.
The new season of MotoGP burst into life recently with a host of regulation changes designed to make things more equal, although in the first race at least there were some familiar names at the front, as Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi took the top four positions. Lorenzo backed up his preseason form with a classic performance of accuracy and timing, with Márquez producing some of his usual magic and Rossi, despite his advancing years, proving once again that he cannot be ruled out on race day. The second stop for the season is at Termas de Río Hondo in Argentina, followed immediately by round three in Texas. This is the third visit to Termas for MotoGP and just the fourth to Texas, two new and spectacular tracks with a special atmosphere and a tendency to produce great racing.
Eugene Laverty admitted after receiving a new engine on Thursday night at Losail that it was like starting again from zero but he soon made up ground and after a difficult weekend of hard work he reaped the rewards in Sunday’s race. He made gradual progress to pick up twelfth place, already equalling his best result from his rookie year with the ASPAR Team last season. It is a boost of confidence for the Irishman, who now heads to one of his favourite circuits in optimistic mood. Termas de Río Hondo is also a special circuit for Yonny Hernández, who counts the Argentinean race as his home round. A good result in front of the South American fans would be the perfect tonic for the Colombian, after a weekend ruined by misfortune in Qatar.
Eugene Laverty: “Argentina is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar. I went there for the first time last year and straight away I loved it. Now I have a year of experience in MotoGP and we have found some confidence with the Ducati so I am going to Argentina feeling very optimistic. It is difficult to predict who will be competitive there because the new electronics have changed everything but my riding style suits the Termas track so we will have to see how things are this year and how the new tyres perform there. Luckily I was able to last the full race distance in Qatar and it was good to see that after my injuries during the winter my body responded well. I was really happy with my performance at Losail, I was able to have a good battle with Miller almost until the end. I am pretty much back to full fitness now and my confidence is also high after the result at Losail. We finished twelfth there so the objective in Argentina will be to try and qualify for Q2 and maybe fight for a top ten finish on Sunday. Preseason was tough for us but the team did a great job to give me the best possible bike. The result in the first race was our reward for that but now I want us to keep raising our level.”
Yonny Hernández: “We had a tough weekend in Qatar, with a lot of setbacks that were out of our control. Luck wasn’t on our side but that is forgotten about now, plus we learnt a lot. Now we go to Argentina with positive energy, I love racing there because it is like my home race. Hopefully I can focus from Friday on producing my best all weekend and finishing with a strong result. I am sure we have left all our bad luck behind us at Losail, so hopefully in Argentina everything works well and allows us to be where we should be. We saw at the last race we have the pace to be fighting in the top ten or twelve so we are going to fight for that. Hopefully I can have a good result in Argentina, in front of all the fans there, and pay the team back for all their hard work. The Termas circuit is really nice and fast, it is quite slippery but it is special to me.”