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MotoGP Malaysia: Laverty weighs up dry/wet pace as BSB looms

"BSB is a really strong domestic championship and hopefully I can find something that I can go back and win with" - Michael Laverty.
Sepang, venue for this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP, is one of the toughest circuits of the year for the former CRT class bikes.

With two long straights punishing the underpowered machinery, Michael Laverty was pleased to be just over three-seconds off the pace and 20th fastest in the dry.

The day saw the MotoGP riders tackle Sepang in both wet and dry conditions with Laverty commenting that the bike felt good in the dry but that the team need to spend time to find a better balance in the wet.

"The bike is working well in the dry and we were ahead of Petrucci for the first time in a while and to be 3.1s off the fastest in the dry, with these two long straights, left me pretty happy," said Laverty. "The bike is working quite well in the dry so that's a positive start but in the wet it wasn't easy and the bike wasn't giving the feeling to let you get confident with the bike and to be aggressive. When you see the guys that are going fast with these Bridgestones they're really aggressive so we need to look at what we did last year in the rain and try that if it rains tomorrow.

"It came down hard at the start but it dried ok at the end but in the full rain conditions we had to make some adjustments, the traction control was cutting in and the bike wasn't going forwards, so we made some progress as the session went on and we finished up 19th. It wasn't too far away in the rain but at times last year in the rain we could go better in the rain whereas today we stayed in the same position as the dry. We've made some chassis changes since last year but maybe we have to look at what we did last year."

The conditions in the afternoon were very difficult for the riders with a huge downpour prior to the start of the session seeing the track flooded in the early stages before the heat started to dry the surface and by the end of the session a dry line had started to emerge.

When asked about the speed with which the track dried Laverty said: "We had a lot of dry patches and the tyre was starting to chew up so it dries pretty fast around here. It was weird because I pitted for five minutes to change the electronics and it was wet when I came in but when I went out a dry line was starting to appear. We'll have to be mindful of that if it's a wet race on Sunday because once the sun comes out it'll dry fast.

"I suppose that we'll have to try and make the wet tyre last because I still think even at the end of that session you probably wouldn't have been able to go faster on the slicks. Today gave us an idea of the laptimes that we can do on the wets and when might be the changeover point because we were 15s slower in the wet and in the race if you can go 15s faster it might be worth the risk to pit and change over."

Laverty's future is still uncertain with the Irishman unlikely to remain in the premier class however he has fielded lots of offers for 2015 and is close to being able to confirm his plans for next year.

Having raced twice in the World Endurance championship he is interested in seeing what opportunities are presented for next year however his priority is to return to British Superbikes and win his first title in the series.

A move to World Superbikes looked like a distinct possibility but with Randy de Puniet confirmed at Crescent Suzuki and Sylvain Guintoli set to replace Jonathan Rea at Pata Honda Laverty's options on the world stage look limited.

"No one has actually given me a contract to sign but they all want a verbal agreement," Laverty said. "I've been speaking to Paul for quite a while and he was putting some pressure on me last week but it's really hard when you're in different timezones and doing this job to get everything organised. I think that once I get home next week I'll be able to make a decision and move forward.

"It's been quite good this year because even though I wasn't able to get a ride here for next year, I've had lots of interest from BSB, World Superbikes and World Endurance and they've all put offers in front of me so hopefully I can tailor something that ticks all the boxes for me.

"BSB is a really strong domestic championship and hopefully I can find something that I can go back and win with. It's exciting for me and I'll go back a stronger rider given my two years here and go back and win a BSB title."

Tagged as: Eugene Laverty , PBM

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