The Irishman found over one second between FP3 and qualifying having made changes to the setup of the bike and placing more weight over the front and instantly the chatter issue was reduced considerably and he was able to grow in confidence on the ART machine:
“I found a lot of time in FP4. I had been struggling with chatter and this morning we decided to go back to the settings from testing hoping it would cure it but still had a problem,” said Laverty. “Before FP4 we came up with a few ideas and put more weight on the front of the bike and straight away I dropped into the mid 2m04’s and it cured the chatter for about half the circuit. It was still there at some corners but I could ride around it and in Q1 we left the bike as it was, there was still some problems with it but I thought that I could do a decent laptime on it.”
Having qualified in 19th position in the rain interrupted session Laverty was slightly disappointed not to have had an opportunity to have one more flying lap before the rain came to Sepang but he is looking forward to the race tomorrow and expecting to be in the fight along with the FTR riders and Randy de Puniet.
“In Q1 the conditions were fine in the first run and got two laps. I came in for a new tyre and on the outlap I saw some spots of rain and on the flying lap it was coming down too much so I only got two flying laps at the start when the conditions were good. It was a bit frustrating because I thought that there was maybe even another half a second in me.
“I think that race pace between Colin [Edwards], Claudio [Corti], Hiroshi [Aoyama] and maybe even Randy [de Puniet] should be similar and hopefully I can get stuck in the middle of them. If I can do that and hang in with them tyre life will be the issue. When the spinning gets really bad I know I can keep the same pace so I’ve got to control the wheelspin and be in there for the race.”
To fight with those riders Laverty admitted that the team would need to make another step forward ahead of tomorrow’s race but he was confident that if the race is run in the dry that he should be able to manage his tyre wear and fight throughout the gruelling 20 lap race:
“We need to make another step tomorrow, I don’t think we’ll get rid of anymore chatter, so it’s about controlling the rear. Hopefully we’ll make some changes in warmup and improve the rear a bit. I haven’t done a race distance yet but the wheel spins from the start, on the first lap you are spinning the rear, and it keeps doing it but you can keep the laptime the same. I think that the Bridgestone can take it [for the full race] but there might be some riders that spin it hard and overspin the tyre and lose the pressure…but looking at the forecast we could be riding around on wets!”