Michael Laverty has overcome a bug and a bucking Tyco BMW to finish quickest on Friday practice at Knockhill as the MCE British Superbike championship returns to full force.
After topping the in-season Snetterton test, the County Antrim rider carried his momentum into the opening day of action for the fourth round of the BSB season by setting lap record pace to lead the field at Knockhill.
Laverty's late flyer of 48.009s saw him hold off a charging Shane Byrne and after giving a glowing assessment of set-up and race pace on his Tyco BMW the Northern Irish rider is targeting his first race win since the 2016 curtain-raiser at Silverstone.
“It is a tough little track even when you feel like everything is working fine it is all action,” Laverty said. “You are fighting the wheelie on the home straight and on the back straight when the bike wants to wallow when you hit the bumps and change up the gears.
“We've got the bike working pretty good and I think I've got a setting with which I can do a good race pace, 48.2s to 48.4s, that would have been fast enough [for wins] last year so hopefully it is enough this year.”
After arriving at Knockhill feeling under the weather Laverty has used the free practice sessions to fight off his illness while setting his career best lap time around the home of Scottish motorsport.
“This morning I felt really weak as I woke up with a head cold yesterday. I was a bit achy and after a few laps the sweat was dripping off of me but this afternoon it was a bit more back to normal,” he said. “Nice to get that 48.0s never got that around here so it has been a pretty good Friday. We'll see what the weather brings but I think we've got a good shot at it.
“We've still got a few little areas we can improve for tomorrow, front-end feel, but I am happy with where the bike is at. It is nice on the first day to have a good base setting to fine tune from.”