Having suffered electrical gremlins that left him sidelined on the opening night of the Qatar Grand Prix weekend Michael Laverty was pleased to get his campaign started on Friday at Losail. The Irishman continued to suffer some issues in FP2 however with the PBM team bedding in a new engine and having to deal with an oil leak during the session.
Afterwards Laverty dismissed these issues as normal teething problems with an engine change but did admit to a problem on his first lap of the season after the warning lights flashed on his dashboard:
“In the first session I went out and no one told me that they were testing the warning lights on the dashboard so when it flashed up the black and orange flag,” said Laverty. “With it happening on the first lap after not running yesterday I thought that I must have been smoking so I was just about to stop the bike and the marshals came to me and waved me to back around. So that was a bit annoying and we lost some time there but we also had an oil leak, just normal stuff with a new engine and getting it dialled in during the first session. FP3 was better and we got a bit of rhythm.”
With the team having tested for three days in Qatar recently Laverty was pleased with the improvements that the team has made with their setup. Having used the Step 4 Aprilia engine for the first time he also saw improvements from it:
“We got out and did a few laps and tried a slightly different setup tonight that gave a new direction. With the new engine we had to change some settings for corner entry but it just didn’t feel as comfortable as in the test but we’re getting there. I could have done with a few more laps but with the new settings the bike felt more settled than it has done.
“I did my laptimes without pushing because I wasn’t feeling too comfortable in the stopping power and if we fix that and get the bike to steer into the long turns we’ll take a big step forward tomorrow. We’re not too bad though and the new engine is an improvement so we should take a step forward.”
Laverty finished the session 22nd fastest.