With different suspension – Bitubo – to the official Ducati Corse team’s Öhlins units, and other components that stray from the factory bike development path, Eugene Laverty really could have been doing with two clean days on his GO Eleven Ducati Panigale V4R.
He did not get a second full day at PI testing, as he explained: “At the end of the first session we had an engine go and there was not enough time to rebuilt it between sessions,” stated the Irishman.
“We only have one bike and we are limited on parts. The guys worked hard and tried to get it built and we hoped we could go out for the last half hour but in he end we just ran out of time.”
Laverty knows that all his issues have held him back from his true potential.
“It has been tough and with so many changes with the bike that is the hard thing,” said Laverty. “There is not much Ducati parts left on my bike, it has changed a lot. We started to make some headway on my last run before the bike went in.
It is disappointing because when you start to feel optimistic, and start to get that rear shock to work and follow the road better - copy the bumps – but then it was the end of my day. At least I have reason to be optimistic; that it is starting to work now. You do not just want just a glimmer of light, you want to start to get the thing dialled, because we are heading into round one.”
Laverty expanded on how his bike diverges from the official ones run by leading light Bautista and Davies. “There are quite a few things changed on the bike (from the Ducati one). The main things that have stayed the same are the engine and chassis, but as per most other things, everything is different, so it is difficult to take a reference from the factory boys. But I am doing what I can, I have got experience and I am giving the guys the information that we need to make the bike better and that is all I can do right now.”
Laverty is more satisfied with his bike’s front-end feel than the rear, but in some ways it is understandable.
“The front end is good but then again I have not been able to push the front because the rear doesn’t work,” said Laverty. “The bike is connected, at the end of the day. The front feels good because the rear is a long way off. Here you have to commit and that is where Alvaro is making his lap time. He can just put it on its side, and I can’t.”
It is not all bad news for Laverty. “The base bike feels amazing and it is still so stable round here,” he stated.
Laverty, 16th from 19 riders at PI in testing and yet a former winner at the Aussie circuit, will join all his peers in the first real round of the season at Phillip Island from 22-24 February.