Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty secured two sixth place finishes at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain for today’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship races with team-mate Alex Lowes consolidating his qualifying position in ninth.
Laverty leaves the Championships’ final Spanish race in seventh position overall after a solid performance saw him mirror his grid position across the line in both of the day’s two races.
Despite a poor start to the morning’s action relegating him to 10th, the Irishman dug deep on-board his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, his persistence paying off as, after a brief battle with Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes for fifth in the final quarter, the Irishman eventually claimed sixth place at the flag. The afternoon race saw the Suzuki rider away from the lights quickly, maintaining his position amongst the front group. Laverty moved to fifth on lap seven before a late challenge from Rea relegated him back, matching his finish from the previous race and awarding him 20 points for the day’s endeavours.
Reunited in action with his Suzuki GSX-R1000, Lowes’ got off to a blistering start in the opening contest; holding second as he crossed the line for the initial revolution, the British racer retained the final podium position for the opening four laps. Circulating in 10th for the middle stint of the race, he eventually succumbed to the track’s greasy conditions at turn one on lap 14. The second outing saw Lowes sustain a steady pace, looking to challenge the two riders in front by lap 10, eventually settling into a rhythm to bring his Suzuki home in ninth for seven championship points.
A cloudy and humid Jerez circuit greeted the fans and competitors for the 10th round of the Championship this morning. Aprilia’s Marco Melandri took victory ahead of his team-mate in both of the day’s races.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki now heads back to its UK Headquarters to prepare for the next round of competition at Magny-Cours in France in a month’s time.
“Unfortunately today wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Race one was really disappointing - we had a problem with the start off the line and dropped backwards – but we made good progress although sixth wasn’t what we expected. In the second race we made a better start, and I think from start to finish it was the best race I could have possibly had, but it was only good enough for sixth. We are going to put our heads together and try to figure out how to get back up on to the podium now because I want to be challenging the top-three and improve our championship position.”
“It was a frustrating day and not the results we wanted but, as ever, I never give in and pushed hard on the GSX-R. I’m frustrated with the crash as I don’t really know what happened but the team worked really hard to make the changes needed for race two. If it wasn’t for the bad start I think we would’ve had a chance of running with Eugene in the second race, but I lost time getting caught up with Elias. I’m looking forward to the next round and will be working hard with the team to get back up there for Magny-Cours.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The results today were below our target but at the same time both riders and the team gave it everything and different conditions just didn’t quite work for us. Eugene rode two very strong races - the first one massively compromised by a dreadful start - and was able to achieve two very solid finishes. The margins are so fine between the podium and sixth place that it’s a case of us continuing to work hard to make the GSX-R as adaptable as it can be to all circuits and all conditions so that we can achieve those targets.
“The greasy conditions caught Alex out in the first race, but he showed a lot of fight today and in the second race he learnt a lot and maintained a very consistent pace right to the end. Not the best day, but not the worst; and as a step towards the future, a lot of learning and good effort by the full Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team.”
Jerez – eni FIM World Superbike Championship – Race One: 1. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 34’20.164: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +1.397: 3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +4.283: 4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +5.705: 5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +6.979: 6. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +7.342. DNF: Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
Jerez – eni FIM World Superbike Championship – Race Two: 1. Melandri 34’25.940: Guintoli +2.845: 3. Sykes +6.097: 4. Davies +7.749: 5. Rea +7.935: 6. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +10.510. 9. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +16.554.
World Championship Classification: 1. Sykes 352: 2. Guintoli 321: 3. Rea 285: 4. Melandri 267: 5. Baz 262. 7. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 154. 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 126.