24 May 2014
WSBK Donington: Laverty: I was realistic after Phillip Island
Eugene Laverty: I think a few people got excited around me, so I tried to tell people to be realistic...
Eugene Laverty says he stayed realistic about his chances in the World Superbike Championship in the wake of his headline-grabbing win at the Phillip Island opener, even if he admits results have been harder to come by than expected.
Runner-up to Tom Sykes in 2013, Laverty's tenure at Voltcom Crescent Suzuki started superbly with a charging victory at Phillip Island, a performance that brought Suzuki its first WSBK win since 2010.
Raising hopes of a potential run on the title, the Irishman's fortunes have dipped since then, Laverty's efforts at Aragon and Assen hampered by poor start-inducing clutch issues, which negated any podium challenge, before struggling for form at Imola throughout the weekend.
Indeed, though Laverty believes there are positives to take away from his performances this year, he admits the results have been disappointing since Australia.
“It's been one peak… and it's been a trough ever since,” he told Crash.net. “It's been quite gradual because every race we have finished we have gone fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth… any more and I'll be out of the points soon,” he joked.
“Imola was the biggest disappointment. Aragon and Assen we were actually strong, we had the pace for the podium, but we had big clutch problems at Aragon and Assen, so we couldn't get off the line and it was why we were so far back and couldn't fight for the podium
“At Imola we finally fixed the clutch but we didn't have the pace, it was the first weekend where we were well and truly off the pace. It highlighted a lot of problems and weak areas.”
Reflecting on the heightened expectations after Phillip Island, Laverty insists he always expected to go well in Australia and was rather more realistic about his chances thereafter.
“I think it [raised expectations] for everyone else, but I was realistic. I have enough experience now to know that if you know what a bike is doing underneath you, you can make almost any bike work around Phillip Island. I knew the character of the Suzuki chassis meant it would work well there.
“Imola is a polar extreme with its hard braking and hard acceleration, which is why we were quite literally 'shite' there! I think a few people got excited around me, so I tried to tell people to be realistic.”
Building on his comments, Laverty says Phillip Island was the first chance he had to properly ride the Suzuki GSX-R1000 having focused on electronics during pre-season testing. Once he got to Jerez to test between the first and second rounds, he says more fundamental issues were exposed.
“We needed a test rider, which looking back is something we should have done. Alex [Lowes] could test and I didn't get the chance to ride the bike properly until Phillip Island because I did the donkey-work, riding around doing electronic work and not running properly.
“It wasn't until we got Phillip Island out of the way and we went to Jerez that we realised we had a few problems, so it was always going to be tough.”
Despite this, Laverty – who currently sits eighth in the standings - says he is enjoying his time in the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team.
“It's nice being in a British team, Suzuki have been great as a manufacturer and the Japanese have been very welcoming too.”
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