The result was Eugene’s first podium in the championship since 2014, and further proof of the progress the team has made towards the front of the field in 2018.
Teammate Lorenzo had a disappointing finish to his weekend, having started P10 and initially making progress before crashing at the Corkscrew on Lap 7 and retiring.
After a strong ride to P4 in Race 1 Eugene lined up in pole position for Race 2. At lights out he got away well, maintaining his lead and pulling away as the pack behind chased. He faced little challenge for the first quarter of the race, maintaining his gap over Van der Mark and setting the pace.
Despite a strong defensive display he was eventually caught and passed by Race 1 winner Rea on lap 8, but kept him honest and continued to lap quickly. Davies then closed in and faced a tough fight from Eugene, ultimately passing him for P2 on lap 17. From there Eugene was able to ride consistently and hold position, taking the chequered flag in emphatic style to record a thoroughly well-deserved maiden podium result for the team.
With Race 2 rounding off a highly positive weekend for the team they now head back to Europe fired up for Round 9 in Italy at the Misano circuit, a successful circuit for them in 2017.
Eugene Laverty #50 – Aprilia RSV4-RF
“That was a great race and result, it was reminiscent for me of Phillip Island where we were strong. The first three laps went to plan today, I just aimed to be careful and try to extend the lead.
When this bike has good grip it’s exceptional, so I had to ride at 90% for the first stint and then began pushing in the later stages. I handled my rhythm well and got passed by Johnny [Rea] and the Chaz, but I felt comfortable and I knew I could hold off the guys behind, and then I dropped the hammer for the last few laps to secure third.
It’s been a great weekend in general, yesterday was encouraging and then today was even better, and it’s nice to get that monkey off my back.”
Lorenzo Savadori #32 – Aprilia RSV4-RF
“Honestly I don’t know what happened in the crash at turn 8. We had a problem again with the full tank and some rear grip, I tried to push but then for reason I couldn’t control the bike.
I’m so sorry to everyone in the team, there was a chance to get some more points today which I am disappointed not to get. Of course I am very happy for the team with their first podium and for Eugene, it was a great result for him.
Now I am looking forward to Misano and racing with my home fans, and I think we can have some good results.”
“The team is on a massive high with this fantastic result. The team deserved it, the sponsors deserved it and most of all Eugene, he’s been inching closer to the podium and worked really hard, so this was his just rewards.
This is what we race for and the taste of champagne in the winners’ circle is fantastic, and if it wasn’t for his injuries in Thailand we would have got here sooner. It was a shame for Lorenzo, he struggled to manage the tyres and fuel situation and paid the price.
Overall we’re continuing the progress we’ve been making from Imola where Eugene returned from injury, and this has been a very positive weekend for us. We can fly home now and prepare for Misano, and continue to run in the top 6 where we aim to be.”