Eugene Laverty will race with the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance charity badges on his leathers through the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, as he continues to show his support for the local charity.

Northern Ireland is still functioning without an air ambulance and it was one of famous road racing doctor John Hinds' priorities to bring the service to the province before his untimely death in July, 2015.

More than 30 helicopter emergency units operate throughout Great Britain and recently the campaign to add that service to Northern Ireland has gained momentum.

"We're moving ever closer to having an air ambulance in Northern Ireland and the project has really gathered momentum this year. It's important to keep it fresh in everyone's mind in order to achieve Doctor John Hinds' goal of bringing an air ambulance to Northern Ireland.

"We're almost there now and to once again raise awareness I will race with the 'Air Ambulance NI' logo on my leather suit this weekend in Jerez. So many people are working hard back home to make this vision a reality and I'm proud to have the opportunity to help out."

"Last year my sponsor Shoei was incredibly helpful in producing a replica of John Hinds' helmet for me to use at the German Grand Prix. I'm very fortunate to have great sponsors in both Shoei and Alpinestars who have added the "Air Ambulance NI" logo to my race suits in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez this weekend."

In Jerez Laverty enjoyed a promising first day of free practice as he ended the second free practice session in tenth, meaning he is provisionally on course to qualify for Q2.

In Argentina, the Aspar Ducati rider made progress with the front of the GP14.2 and coming to Europe, he now feels that he has "something that resembles a base setting."

"It's where we need to be," said the 29-year old. "That was the aim to try and be there. I wanted to put a tyre in at the end and try to be in there. We're still working on the chassis. The base setting, we're close to that now.

"It might not have looked it in Austin but in terms of spring rates and geometry we're getting near. In Argentina we made steps with the front of the bike. The rear wasn't quite correct. In Austin we made a good step and here I'm confident that we're starting with something that resembles a base setting.

"There was a lot of grip in the morning but it was slippery in the afternoon. 40 degrees is the cut off here. It was a little bit icy out there. The result in Argentina took weight off my shoulders, that's an important thing. Last year we never quite got the race result and struggled with the rear tyre over the season."

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