Handling problems held Michael Laverty back on the opening day of practice ahead of Sunday’s Valencia Grand Prix. The PBM rider admitted that he was suffering from a “sharp slide” exiting some of the slower corners around the circuit and that this was causing the electronics to cut in and limit power under acceleration onto the longer straights. It was a vicious cycle for Laverty with one problem leading to another and costing him time throughout the day.
Speaking exclusively to Crash.net following FP2 the Ulsterman explained the issues that he was having with the bike exiting corners:
“When you go aggressive with the throttle we get a sharp slide, that’s where the rear just moves, and the electronics then kick in and you lose power and forward momentum so we need to stop that happening,” said Laverty. “If we can stop the first movement than the electronics won’t kick in and we’ll have forward drive. The last corner and out of turn five onto the back straight are where we have the biggest problem and you’re just waiting on the bike to fire up. I was following de Puniet and for most of the lap we were identical but he’d accelerate better than us.”
Overall, however, Laverty was pleased with his efforts on the opening day and confident that PBM could solve the problems from the opening day. Having discussed the issues with his race engineer, Scott Smart, Laverty opened up about why he was unable to make the same level of progress as some of his rivals in the afternoons session:
“We had a reasonably good FP1 but in the afternoon we didn’t take a good enough step forward because of some issues which we got a direction on by the end of the session. We had too much movement on the front when I was braking on the bumps so the front was tucking on me. We’ve still got some areas to work on so we’ll work on the electronics tonight. We’re not far away in lap time but around here the smallest thing in setup can affect everything. I think that the bumps are the biggest issue at the moment, especially when you trail braking into corners, and the tyre just bounces.”
Laverty ended the day 0.8s slower than Randy de Puniet, the Frenchman also rides the 2012 ART chassis, but given his problems on Friday Laverty is confident of closing that gap to the Aspar rider and battling with the likes of Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama over the weekend:
“Overall we’re not a million miles away here if we can make the bike stop and accelerate a bit better we’ll be OK. We’ve no chatter so now we just need to get the electronics dialed in. We’re wheelying too much, bouncing under braking and have the sharp slide off the turn so if we can fix those three we’ll be in a decent position. Hopefully we’ll make some headway in FP3.”