21 February 2016
Phillip Island MotoGP Test: ‘Closing feeling’ holding Laverty back
Eugene Laverty admits he was fortunate to walk away from a frightening fall at turn eight on the final day of testing, 'struggling to find set-up direction'.
Eugene Laverty admitted he was lucky to walk away from a fast fall on a Friday afternoon of MotoGP testing at Phillip Island, and feels he is 'struggling to find a direction' with 2016's electronics package and Michelin tyres.
Shortly after Phillip Island's turn eight at claimed Danilo Petrucci in a spill that broke the Italian's second, third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand, Laverty crashed at the same location thanks to windy conditions, cooler temperatures and front tyre that failed to offer significant feedback.
“It was probably the same as Petrucci,” said Laverty, who suffered no significant injuries, on Friday evening. “The cold wind meant that the right side probably wasn't perfect. In the hairpin before it wasn't quite up to temperature. Maybe I didn't give turn eight enough care because it's not really a corner. I don't consider it a corner.
“I just went right and the front closed. It's always when you least expect it. I just completely closed the front and it's so fast there. I wouldn't have minded a turn four crash but unfortunately, like Jerez, I'm getting to the point where you don't want them. You're just tipping in and it's closing.”
The crash was Laverty's third significant off during the off-season. In the first at Jerez in November, the 29-year old broke his left wrist and dislocated his right shoulder.
His fortunes hadn't improved by Sepang, when a mechanical issue forced Laverty to abandon his bike on the approach to turn four. Initial x-rays didn't detect any fractures, although his right hand was still swollen in Australia.
One of eleven riders to fall on Friday, the Northern Irishman felt Michelin's front tyre wasn't offering significant feedback through the day, making it difficult to push the package to its limits.
“It's the same thing that we've seen at this test. Yesterday [Thursday] there weren't so many crashes,” continued Laverty. “Today, f**k it was hard. You want to push and gain but every time you do the feedback isn't there. We have to work on some laps. I really didn't need that crash because this is really our first proper test.
“We're struggling to find a direction or a correct way. The good thing is we saw Baz and Barbera doing a good job. That team knows this bike so if you know the bike you can get the potential from it. We're new with the bike and it takes a bit of time to get there.
Of the machine's electronics, Laverty, 19th fastest overall, added, “The problem is our engine braking. I think we need to work on it. I'm struggling with the front and the engine braking coincides with that. That's the main thing we have to work on on the elecrtonics side.”
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