15 July 2014
German MotoGP: Laverty, PBM run second at Sachsenring
“I ride my ass off every day whether it's to finish 18th or anywhere else” – Michael Laverty.
Michael Laverty finished the opening lap of Sunday's German MotoGP in a dream second place for PBM.
The Ulsterman, who had qualified 18th, made a canny bike choice in the drying track conditions just before the start and, unlike at Assen, was able to reap the rewards.
Laverty had decided to switch from his wet to dry bike and start the formation lap from pit lane. BY contrast all of the frontrunners bar Stefan Bradl left the grid on their wet bikes - then had to dive into the pits at the end of the lap, swap to their dry bikes, then start from pit lane.
"We were on the grid and had gone around on our wet bike, but I knew that we could change bikes and go back to the garage and start from the back of the grid," said Laverty.
"I thought that the difference between starting from the back of the grid compared to 18th was worth a gamble. From the start of the race with everyone starting from pit lane I was able to get a good start and was third into the first corner and then passed Hiro [Aoyama] at Turn 5 and could hold second for a couple of laps which was really cool."
Starting on the medium front slick cost Laverty time in the early laps as he struggled to get tyre temperature on the cold and damp track surface.
“I started with a full dry bike, with a harder front tyre, and it was probably a mistake and starting with the soft tyre would have been a better choice,” said Laverty, passed by eventual race winner Marc Marquez on lap three (pictured).
“I ran the soft front in the cooler conditions this weekend and had much better pace and I was struggling to do the lap times that I wanted early on. This was especially the case when the factory bikes came past because they were interrupting my rhythm because they'd come past you and push you wide and cost you two seconds a lap.”
Despite his early heroics, Laverty was left empty handed when he fell from 16th place on lap 18 of 30, while in front of Production Honda rider Nicky Hayden.
"It took until about half distance for me to get the front tyre working, there was still some spots of rain before that, and the three laps before I crashed were all in the '23s and getting faster. I could see Petrucci and Abraham and Bradl all coming back towards me. I could see on my pitboard that I had a consistent two second gap to Nicky so I think that I had a good enough pace to finish around twelfth or thirteenth so it's really frustrating not to finish the job but as I said at the start I was going to push 100%.”
Laverty was clearly frustrated to have missed out on an opportunity to score much needed 2014 points, but was at least pleased to have been able to compete with the Open Hondas throughout the weekend.
“I was pushing hard and coming into Turn 3 there's a couple of ripples there and I kind of bounced on them and the front folded,” he said of the fall.
“I didn't do anything differently to what I'd done all weekend there but that's the nature of the Sachsenring, you're pushing the front so much that it's so easy to lose it around here. It's a frustrating end to a good weekend that had a lot of highlights for me, running in the top ten in FP2 and running at the front of the pack in the race, and it's been a strong weekend for us but unfortunately we didn't get the points that we deserved.”
With Laverty's ART engine still close to last year's CRT spec, he feels there are 18 faster bikes under normal conditions.
"With our bike you've got to ride at 100% on every lap just to hang in there so it's not like you can ride at 99% and err a little bit to the side of caution, you have to ride it hard on every lap,” he said. “It's caught us out here and there but at the last few races we've made a step forward with the likes of the exhaust to give us more mid-range and the new fuel tank to help at the start of races.
“I think that realistically there are 18 bikes on the grid - twelve Factory bikes and six Open bikes - that if they finish we shouldn't really beat them unless everything works out well for us. So that makes it hard for us to get the points.
“Broc [Parkes] scored points in Qatar and Assen and I had the chance to score there as well, but I jumped the start at Qatar and then we had our problems at Assen and then today I crashed when there was potential for points.
“There is pressure there to score points but it doesn't really affect me, I ride my ass off every day whether it's to finish 18th or anywhere else.
“I hope that the points will come and I'll keep plugging away, I didn't do anything differently this weekend, so hopefully we'll get them on the board. Broc is in the top 22 so that's good for the team but I'm not even though I've been fast enough to score points but that's the way it goes.”
Parkes finished 21st on Sunday.
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