Milwaukee Aprilia are heading for the rostrum ahead of Round 2 of the WorldSBK Championship at the Chang Circuit, Thailand.
Following on from a season opener in February at Australia’s Phillip Island Circuit, the team have arrived at Chang ready to fight to the finish line and continue with their strong, confident race pace.
The 2018 Official Test and Free Practice Friday at Round 1 accentuated the team’s progress with the SMR Aprilia, which saw riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori finishing first and third overall. Moving on to Superpole 1 and 2 and the pressure was rising. Unfortunately, Savadori crashed out at turn six which left him with a trip to the medical centre and declaration of being unfit to ride for the remainder of the weekend. Laverty managed to secure second place on the grid ready for the first 22 laps of the year. He secured a solid eight place finish, before moving to into race 2 and crashing out of the lead, leaving nothing but a single consolation point collected.
Heading in to this weekend at Chang will create an exclusive show for both riders and race teams. The 4.5 km race circuit features 12 turns, long straights and twisty sectors. With temperatures set to rise above 30o tyre life will play a huge part in the race, making qualifying exceptionally interesting for the viewers.
The behind the scenes work does not go unnoticed, as the teams travel the globe transporting everything from bikes to spanners to leathers and helmets. The hard work and dedication of each individual member shines through with the success of the team as a whole. After catching up with Shaun Muir, SMR Racing, he states:
As Savadori is declared fit to ride ahead of this weekend’s entertainment, he and the team will be working exceptionally hard to ensure the best possible set up is in place with the RSV4-RF. He states:
“I’m really happy to be back with the team for this weekend. It wasn’t easy for me to get back my fitness as there was not much time after Phillip Island, but I worked a lot with my physio at home and I feel much better.
In Philip Island we were fast from the beginning of Free Practice and my race pace was good.
Chang is a very different circuit of course with a long straight and hard braking, so the requirements of the bike and the ride have to change.
It is always a tough race in such high temperatures and everyone has to work hard, but I am confident for the weekend and I’m looking forward to the start of Free Practice.”
As Laverty gets ready for Round 2, he states:
“I’m optimistic for the weekend at Chang. We were quick last year and we’re back with a better bike, so it should be a good round for us. It’s a different set up and we know it is going to be hot and the surface slippery, but I’m still aiming for the podium and to be running at the front.
It’s a track of two halves with long straights and hard braking, plus a twisty middle sector that needs an agile bike. It’s always a compromise here to set the bike up for the whole track, but we’ve got it balanced well now and hopefully we can be quick from the off.
This is probably the toughest race of the year for us all; it’s very hot and the track is very physical. But I’m in good shape and if we can be starting from the front like we did in Phillip Island then we can do well. I want to validate all the hard work the team has done and to make sure it counts on Saturday and Sunday.”
Don’t miss this weekend’s action, live on Eurosport 2.
Free Practice 1 02:45 – 03:28AM Free Practice 3 03:45 – 04:05AM
Free Practice 2 05:30 – 06:12AM
Free Practice 4 03:45 – 04:05AM Superpole 2 06:55 – 07:10AM
Superpole 1 06:30 – 06:45AM WorldSBK – Race 1 09:00AM
Warm Up 05:00 – 05:15AM WorldSBK – Race 2 10:00AM