Pull&Bear Aspar Team riders Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández return to action in Austria, where they tested in July, for the tenth round of the season on a track that suits Ducati.
#MotoGP on the streets of Graz! 🇦🇹
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The MotoGP World Championship makes its return to Spielberg in Austria this weekend for the first time since June 1997, when a young Valentino Rossi – the only rider from that day still active – took second place in the 125cc race behind Noboru Ueda, one of just four races he didn’t win that season. Nineteen years later everything has changed: the bikes, the categories, the riders… all except Rossi, who remains in the fight for MotoGP glory even though he trails current leader Marc Márquez by 59 points with half of the season remaining. In just over three months’ time the 2016 MotoGP World Champion will be crowned at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo. By then nine races will have taken place, three each month, as the riders do battle around the world with barely time to catch their breath in between. The first challenge comes with the next two races in just eight days, as Austria and the Czech Republic host rounds nine and ten. Just 330km separate the tracks, with fifty points up for grabs and two races that will go a long way to determining who lifts the title in Valencia.
Pull&Bear Aspar Team riders Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández head into the second half of the season in contrasting positions, with the Irishman sitting comfortably in tenth in the championship thanks to his unbroken run of points scoring finishes in every race so far this season. Laverty has shown time and again his ability to step up his performance on race day but he has yet to make an appearance in Q2 and guarantee a place on the front four rows of the grid, which will again be his objective in Austria. On the flip side, Yonny Hernández has shown his potential in qualifying but has not had the luck to convert his pace into a result in the races. At Sachsenring Hernández made it into Q2 for the third time this season and like Laverty he is looking forward to the challenge of the Spielberg circuit, which on the evidence of the test there in July should suit their Ducati machines.
Eugene Laverty: “I like the track, it suits our bike and it seems like it is made for the Ducatis. There are a lot of straights, hard acceleration points and hard braking zones, which are the strong points of our bike. The test there in July went quite well, we managed to set some consistent times and we worked on different aspects of the bike that we hadn’t had chance to work on up to then, such as variations to the geometry and the front suspension.”
Yonny Hernández: “My first impressions of the track in Austria were good; it is small but it has some fun elevation changes and the Ducatis were fast in the July test so we are hoping for a good result there this weekend. From our point of view in the test we had some problems with the rear tyres, which were wearing out quite quickly, so that is something we will need to work on this weekend.”