Eugene Laverty insists he is not giving up on his title chances despite an indifferent start to the 2012 World Superbike Championship season.
The Irishman had been tipped for a run at the title in his sophomore season of WSBK racing following a competitive maiden campaign with Yamaha, but his subsequent switch to Aprilia has been fraught with issues, the man himself admitting he has already crashed the RSV4 more than he ever did the R1.
Hampered by an injury at the opening round in Australia, though podiums at Assen and Monza lifted Laverty's spirits, a dismal weekend at Donington Park yielded just a single point and concluded with a substantial fall through the high-speed Craner Curves
“I've been off the Aprilia one too many times recently,” Laverty wrote on his official blog. “I've already crashed the Aprilia more times than I put the Yamaha on the deck the whole of last year and I'm getting tired of scuffing new bodywork, helmets, leathers, boots and gloves.
“At Donington I totalled the bike crashing down Craner Curves in race two through frustration at seeing the riders in front clearing off into the distance. During the first five laps I was being held up by Sylvain Guintoli and then suddenly the tables turned and I was struggling to hold on less than a quarter of the way into the race. I began pushing beyond the limit which was never going to last long and down I went.
“The frustration had accumulated throughout the day after I'd suffered a long race one and dropped back to finish 15th. The electronics were confused and not giving me sufficient power so whilst I had an easy ride it certainly wasn't enjoyable!”
Nonetheless, though the setbacks have shifted Laverty onto the back foot, 63.5 points off series leader – and team-mate – Max Biaggi, the two-time race winner is optimistic that he can signal a turnaround at this weekend's round at Miller Motorsports Park.
“Sometimes you've got to look at things in a light-hearted manner and while it's been an up and down season to date I know things will come good. The Aprilia is a fantastic package but right now we're just suffering with a few fundamental problems. The Aprilia engineers are a clever bunch and so I know it's only a matter of time before we iron the problems out.
“Salt Lake City is next up on the calendar and I'm confident that the Aprilia will work well on that layout and surface. Carlos Checa will be hard to beat around there but I plan on giving it a good go in order to get back in the title hunt.”
Despite the distance to Biaggi, Laverty has out-scored his team-mate in two of the five rounds so far this year, but lost substantial ground at Phillip Island and Donington Park.