Michael Laverty finished 18th at the San Marino Grand Prix but having battled with Randy de Puniet throughout the 28 lap race the Irishman saw a lot of positives from the race and left him clearly feeling optimistic for the coming races.
Having struggled in recent races to match the pace of the ART and FTR riders Laverty was constantly fighting with de Puniet with the Aspar rider ultimately holding the upper hand but this race was in stark contrast to recent outing for Laverty.
For the last number of races the PBM rider was caught in “no man’s land” having been unable to fight with the riders in front of him but comfortably faster than Bryan Staring and Lukas Pesek. Today however was a different story with Laverty comfortably faster than Karel Abraham and Yonny Hernandez before their retirements and running in front of de Puniet in the opening stages:
“It was a bit better today and we were in there fighting in the early laps with a full fuel load,” said Laverty. “We’ve been running heavy all weekend so that obviously allowed me to get more used to the heavy fuel load so I was able to keep the pace nice and consistent.”
The fight with de Puniet was close in the early stages but when the Frenchman got in front some mistakes by Laverty meant that he unable to get back in front of his rival even though he showed strong pace in comparison:
“The other guys went away a little bit and when de Puniet passed me I overshot at turn one and had to try and claw him back over a few laps and I was getting a tenth here and a tenth there but with three laps to go I made another mistake. But it was nice to be in there fighting with the ART and seeing where it was stronger and where we can improve. Overall it was a good race and we finished about a minute and a half from the leader which was what we expected. If we can find another ten or fifteen seconds [over the race] we could have been in the fight for points and that’s the half a second a lap we’re looking for and that’s achievable.”
Finding that ten or fifteen seconds could be made easier with the Irishman having been told by PBM that with Yonny Hernandez leaving the team there is an opportunity to race the Columbian’s ART machine for the remaining five races of this season.