Before the race Lorenzo scored a fantastic P3 for the team in Superpole 2, setting a blistering lap that placed him behind only Sykes and Rea and marking a significant step forward for Milwaukee Aprilia. Eugene took a respectable P8, finishing the session three tenths off the pace of his teammate.
The team’s race result didn’t quite deliver on the promise of Superpole, with both riders hampered by separate technical issues. Lorenzo made a steady start and followed the leaders, after being passed by the fast-starting Lowes and Camier. Waiting for his opportunity to attack, he was forced into damage limitation when his bike developed a traction control issue that cost him time and the chance to push forward. Unchallenged for most of the race, he brought home nine important points and secured a P4 starting position for Race Two.
Eugene was caught up in a clash at Turn One at the race start, and was pushed wide into the run-off area. Dropped to the back of the field, he pushed an excellent recovery attack which moved him to P9 by lap five. From there he passed Reiterberger and shadowed teammate Lorenzo. He fended off Fores and Torres for much of the race, but was then affected by a backshift issue on his RSV4 RF which put him on the backfoot until he could finish P10 with 6 points.
With another chance to prove their mettle on Sunday, the team will ensure both riders and bikes are on song for Race Two.
The action continues for Milwaukee Aprilia on Sunday with Race 2 at 13:00(12:00 GMT).
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Superpole 2: 1’36.463, P3
Race: P7, 9 points
“Superpole went well for me, and I was really happy to get my first front row this year for the team. We made good progress on the lap speed and I think we closed the gap a lot. It was an OK start in the race, I lost some positions but I was able to keep fighting. I tried to maintain my pace and wait to attack the leaders, but around halfway I had a traction problem with the bike which made it difficult to push and I lost a lot of time. I was not so happy to only finish P7, but points are good and we know areas we can make better for Race 2. I am happy we had good qualification speed, and I hope we can continue this.”
Eugene Laverty #50
Superpole 2: 1’36.796, P8
Race: P10, 6 points
“Superpole wasn’t so bad, eighth wasn’t where we wanted to start but the bike ran well and I felt confident on it which was good. The race was really tough for us. I got tangled up in a Turn One incident which dropped me nearly to last place. After that it was a battle for me, I forced some passes and made my way back through the field. Around Lap seven I had a problem with the backshift which worked intermittently, and the second half of the race I was struggling to keep up with the pace. It was a frustrating end and we were showing a lot of potential. We’ll get the problem fixed for tomorrow, it’s just a shame when the problems hit you in the race. The bike felt good and I was on the leaders’ pace mostly. The top three guys today are still a step ahead, but fourth is there for taking and that has to be our aim for tomorrow.”
“We had a great Superpole session, and another first for the team to get a legitimate front row start without a reverse grid or penalties for other riders. It was a big achievement to close some lap time potential down to the front. Eugene was strong on the race tyre in SP2, the qualifying tyre not so much, and we were looking forward to a promising race. Lorenzo had a frustrating race. He settled in at the start and tried to be cautious, and wait to make his move up the field. He had a traction control problem which was cutting too much power for him, and he had to play things safe to bring it home in the points. Eugene had a similarly disappointing result. He was pushed wide at Turn One and worked his way up really well, running the same pace as the front runners. His bike then had a rear speed sensor issue which caused problems with his electronic backshift controls, and he lost a lot of time as a result.
We have a few issues to iron for both riders ahead of Race Two, but we know the race pace is there and we’ll have a slightly harder challenge starting further down the grid.”