Milwaukee Aprilia experienced mixed fortunes in Race 1 at Phillip Island, with one points finish and one DNF.
With riders Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty starting from 6th and 13th respectively after Saturday’s Superpole sessions, the team were in a strong position for the first race of the season. After a difficult test and practice period Eugene showed improved pace in the race, executing a series of strong passes to finish 8th with 8 points. With valuable data gathered during the race, there will be chance to find more pace from his Aprilia RSV4 RF. Eugene will take advantage of the new reverse grid ruling to start Race 2 from 5th position.
After a slow start saw him lose some places, Lorenzo was quick to make up ground and fought his way up behind the leading pack. He soon set a blistering pace and was reeling in the leaders, but had an unfortunate crash that ended his race early.
The team will debrief tonight ahead of Sunday’s finale and target podiums in Race 2.
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid – 13th Race – 8th
The crash in qualifying came at the wrong time. The bike felt good up to that point and I was pushing harder, but the bike was off after two corners and I missed out. I made the race hard for myself by starting 13th, but I managed to make up a few places quickly. My feeling on the bike wasn’t great throughout and I struggled with getting it stopped and turning, but to score points is a positive.
We can work on and improve our issues from today for sure. It’s only a short warm up tomorrow and it won’t be easy, but with the reverse grid tomorrow as well we should be in a better position.
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid – 6th Race – DNF
I enjoyed using the Superpole tyre and I had good pace. I made a small mistake in qualifying and lost a few tenths, but I was happy to be on the second row.
The start of the race was not great and I lost some places. When I got some clear space I had good speed and I was reducing the gap to the front, but then I had a crash which was unfortunate.
My rhythm on the bike is still not great, but I think we can find some answers tonight. It’s not easy to close the gap to the guys at the front but we’re working very hard and hopefully we will have a good Race 2.
Team Principal Shaun Muir
It was a frustrating race for both sides of the garage. Lorenzo had the pace to run at the front no doubt, which he showed moving from 13th to 6th, but he didn’t settle quick enough and had an off. He has work to do tomorrow and would have had a clear top 6 today, so there is a clear target for him in Race 2.
On the other side I’m pleased for Eugene to get a result, unfortunately 8th isn’t where any of us want or expect him to be. At the moment we haven’t given him a bike that he can race on, and that’s something we’ve got to work hard on. Between SMR and Aprilia we need to give him something to compete with, and that won’t be far away.