Milwaukee Aprilia recorded another points finish with Eugene Laverty in Race 2 at Assen, but suffered an unfortunate crash for Lorenzo Savadori
With the riders starting on the first and second rows for the final race of the weekend, hopes were high for a strong result from Lorenzo and Eugene following their best results of the year in Race 1. A rapid getaway for Eugene saw him move from fifth to second place on the first lap, before he moved past polesitter Xavi Fores to take the lead of the race by lap two. Teammate Lorenzo, starting second, had a slower getaway and was caught up in a battle with the Ducatis of Davies and Melandri.
Eugene was then engaged in a fight for the lead with the Kawasakis of Rea and Sykes, and put up a strong defence against them. Lorenzo, having dropped to eighth, began a charge on lap seven and fought past Fores to take sixth place behind his teammate Eugene. His pace was consistent, but an unfortunate crash at the fast turn seven on lap 11 put an end to his attack and forced him to retire.
As he managed his front tyre wear Eugene began slipping backwards, racing with the Yamahas of Van der Mark and Lowes before he ultimately came home in a respectable eighth place with eight points.
The team now head to the famed Imola circuit in Italy for Round 5 of the 2017 WorldSBK championship in two weeks' time, where they will target further gains and finished in the big points positions.
Shaun Muir, Team Principal
Qualifying was very strong for us, and starting from the front and second rows was great for the team, the sponsors and of course the riders. In Race 1 we had a real challenge, as we have lots new settings and not much time to try race simulations in practice. Tyre wear was an unknown for us and it showed with Eugene, whose front was destroyed at the end of the race. Lorenzo had similar issues but did really well to earn his fifth place.
Sunday was a mixed bag, although we had great starting positions on the first and second rows. Lorenzo got into a nice rhythm and fought past Fores, but he pushed a little too hard and lost the front, which put him out of the race unfortunately. Eugene finishing eighth wasn't quite what we'd hoped for starting fifth. But, we did get a lot of valuable data on the tyre wear issues he's had, and data that will help us address the bike balance in his case particularly as there is a significant change in bike balance as the fuel load decreases.
Overall we're very happy with the results. Eugene we know was hurt by his tyres, and Lorenzo could have finished in the top six if not for his crash. We have plenty of good data to work with, and the team now goes to Imola feeling positive for Aprilia's home race.
Eugene Laverty #50 / Grid - 5th / Race - 8th, 8 points
The new reverse grid rules helped us today, because it gave us chance to show how quick we are in the early laps of a race. I felt comfortable on the bike and I really went for it, and I had a good scrap with Fores and the Kawasakis at the top.
The problem came after about 10 laps, because the front tyre again was losing grip and performance and I started dropping back. My pace was consistent but for sure we could have finished higher.
This weekend confirmed the areas we need to improve in. We were really strong in some parts but the tyre wear hurt us in others. It’s good for Aprilia to see that we are strong in the first laps, and we will see what Imola brings for us in two weeks.
Lorenzo Savadori #32 / Grid - 2nd / Race - Retired
It was an unlucky race today. It was good to have a front row position to start, and I was on the softer tyre. At the beginning I didn’t push hard, and because of that I started to lose positions.
After 6 laps I started pushing hard but I was losing time fighting with Fores and Melandri. My lap times were getting better when I was past, but unfortunately I crashed at turn 7.
I’m sorry to the team for the result in this race, but I tried my best and it did not work today. Now we go to Imola which is a home race for me, and I really like the track. We have some things to improve on the bike so our pace is better, but I am confident in Milwaukee Aprilia.
Milwaukee Aprilia demonstrated on Saturday the progress they have made after strong showings in Superpole and Race 1 at Assen
After the team's best Superpole session of the year saw them start in 3rd and 6th place respectively, Lorenzo and Eugene made quick getaways from the grid at a sunny TT Circuit Assen.
Battling with the Ducati of Xavi Fores and Yamaha of Alex Lowes for much of the race, both riders showed their mettle as they lapped consistently and forced some impressive passes on their competitors. Although they had to manage separate technical issues towards the end of the race, Lorenzo and Eugene brought their RSV4 RFs home in 5th and 8th positions to rack up yet another double points finish for Milwaukee Aprilia.
In what has so far proved to be a highly competitive WorldSBK season the team are looking to further demonstrate their progress in 2017. With a first and second row start for the riders on Sunday, the team are hopeful of another strong showing at the high-end of the points.
Mick Shanley, Team Manager
We had a positive day today at Milwaukee Aprilia, and we’ve clearly made steps forward since the previous round and test at Aragon which have allowed us to be more competitive here.
Qualifying 3rd and 6th [Lorenzo and Eugene respectively] was a big improvement. We struggled a little to fully deliver on those positions in the race, but both riders finished well within the points which was encouraging.
There’s a few issues with tyre wear we need to manage tonight so that we can be stronger in Race 2, but with another first and second row start tomorrow there are lots of positives for the team to take from today.
Eugene Laverty #50 / Grid - 6th / Race - 8th, 8 points
So far it’s been a really positive weekend, much better than the previous three rounds. Practice went well and qualifying on the second row was a big boost for us after we’d worked so hard.
In the race I was able to have some good battles with the guys around me, and the bike was performing pretty well for me. It was a shame that the front tyre went off towards the end though, and we had a mechanical issue which held us back.
The feeling on the bike is much better now, but we need to get on top of the front tyre issues we had because things like that can hurt us in the race. We still have a top five finish in our sights and that’s really where we should be right now.
Lorenzo Savadori #32 / Grid - 3rd / Race - 5th, 11 points
It was a good race for us today, and good for me because I haven’t raced since Thailand last month. I was happy with the qualifying we did, and the front row was a good place to be.
I pushed hard at the beginning of the race and made a good gap to the guys behind me, but then I started to have problems with rear grip and lost some positions. I still made some quick laps though and 5th was a good finish.
I need to look at the data with my crew chief and engineers tonight to see where we can improve. There is another warm up session tomorrow though so we still have time to test and find some speed, because for sure we can be quicker.