Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty has adjusted his expections for the 2017 WorldSBK season and is now targeting podiums in the second half of the year after a tough start with the RSV-4.
Laverty and his team had hoped to be title challengers from the world go but difficulties with the Noale bike have left them with a lot of work to do as the Monaco-based rider is unable to get it to stop and turn as he would like - and says you can see the problems even on TV.
“At this stage my goal in 2017 is to improve where we are. The first two rounds have been a big disappointment, as my goal from the off season was to be in that podium fight, aiming for race wins. We struggled with the bike initially, especially in Phillip Island for us. In Thailand there were definitely signs of progress, but it was hard in the second race because the temperature was so high,” said Laverty.
“Now we’re back to more normal temperatures, as well as more updates from Aprilia, I am confident we can make a good step. The second half of the season is going to be key because I am sure we still have some things to learn in this half of the year but in the second half I want to be consistently on the podium and be a regular there.
“Aprilia have been working a lot over the winter on making this bike. It was a great bike when I was with Aprilia in 2012 and 2013, and also in the years after, but we need to make some steps forward. The strength of Aprilia has been horsepower, we were always at the top of the speed charts but that hasn’t been the case in the first two rounds, so we want to make a step there. However the important thing is to improve the agility of the bike. You can see it on television, we aren’t able to fight with the top guys.
“I’m more content with the test than with the race. We did a lot of laps and have worked on a lot, but there is still some work to do. We still need to understand the electronics, mainly with the engine braking, but our biggest issue was to stop the bike in the turn. We made a good step in a few areas actually so we learned something.”