Michael Laverty says it is paramount he qualifies in the top three at Brands Hatch Indy and is confident his race pace can keep him up the front.
The Tyco BMW rider has ended Friday free practice second quickest after being pipped by Shane Byrne on the final flyers, but Laverty says he wasn't able to produce as clean a lap at the end of the second practice session as he would have liked.
Despite taking second he feels he needs to make small gains in FP3 if he is to achieve the front row in qualifying and emphasised the importance of qualifying well around the Indy configuration of the Brands Hatch circuit due to the limited overtaking opportunities.
“I need the front row,” Laverty said. “Front two rows would suffice but I want to be on the front row because if you lose a second or two in the first five laps it takes so long to make it up as you can only gain a few tenths each lap if you really hook it up.
“P2 today is not too bad but I know everyone can up their game on the fresh tyre so I need to try to do that too.
“In the first session I used one tyre the whole time and got used to how the bike reacted on a really worn tyre then we started the second session on that same tyre again. I put a new one in for a race run but the red flag interrupted that but we've done two longer stints on it with high 45s and low 46s lap times.
“It was an interesting pace when we didn't have traffic which I was pretty happy with. I didn't quite get the one-off lap that I wanted but on my last tyre I did about 10 laps all in the mid 45s so I'm happy. Just need to find a bit more for qualifying but that is the usual situation.”
Having focused on the need to improve side grip stability with the Tyco BMW, Laverty gave a positive report on different link and rear shock set-ups but says he is still losing time to the Yamaha and Ducati bikes.
“We're still losing a little bit, maybe a tenth, at the last corner as it is all about the side grip there and stability to pick it up,” he said. “Compared to the Yamaha and Ducati I followed we are losing a little bit as our bike gets a bit upset. But our bike is stronger in other areas so it is a trade-off so we'll take that and look to improve it for tomorrow.”