British Superbikes: Michael Laverty glad to see Snetterton turn his season around
12:41 30 May 2012
Archant Norfolk Copyright
Michael Laverty was glad to see Snetterton turn his British Superbikes title challenge around – and hopes it will propel him to 2012 success.
The Samsung Honda rider was the star of the baking weekend and left with just defending champion and former team-mate Tommy Hill, Australian championship leader Josh Brookes and tough cookie Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne ahead in the championship standings.
The goal is to be in the top six and book a place in the title showdown across the final three rounds – something Laverty is now looking good for following his hot rides in Norfolk.
“After the first couple of rounds people were saying you’re going to struggle to make the top six, so sitting in 11th or 12th coming into Snetterton…one weekend can turn it around,” said Laverty.
“I saw that happen last year and I was confident, and now I’m up to fourth it just shows you how it can turn around.
“For me it’s now the four strongest in the champion are in front. I look at Shakey, Tommy and Josh as the three main rivals I’ve got for the title this year, so we’re now in there but we can’t rest on that.
“We need to keep working because the Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki have a little more top end than us, so we need to find a little more speed and keep working away. But I’m confident in the package I’ve got now.”
Laverty admitted the next round at the Scottish circuit of Knockhill will feel like a home race thanks to his compatriots crossing the Irish Sea in support – and it should make for the perfect follow-up to Snetterton.
While Laverty’s Samsung Honda may lack a little speed, the Northern Irishman believed the Norfolk track was its ideal venue – helping him to his first 2012 success, becoming the seventh rider with a win to their name this season.
“The track suits the Honda, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “It’s good in the tight stuff and turn three round to the back straight it was strong there. Plus we did a test in March, so we had a little bit of that which helped with the bike set-up. But we should be at the front like this every weekend.”
Not that one win and a second place in Snetterton’s double header was down to the bike alone. Laverty was the man Hill earmarked as one to watch before the weekend; a track where Laverty has excelled whatever the bike.
Laverty responded: “It’s quite true; I topped the pre-season test here last year on the Yamaha and this year on the Honda – but then I turned up to race here on the Yamaha last year and really struggled with a problem.
“I’ve had a good history here at Snetterton, even back in my early days. I almost won my first race here in British Championship level, so it’s been a good track to me. It’s a completely different track now with the changes, but it has still got the same essence with the whole last section.
“Probably because of it’s European style – it’s quite flat and has got fast and slow corners and the big straights – it kind of suits my smooth riding style, if you like. So it’s been good to me in the past and I hope it continues that way.
“It’s an excellent facility now, the whole circuit. They have done a really good job with it and added a lot more to it, so I quite enjoy the circuit layout itself.”
Record crowds in excess of last year’s 43,000 mark enjoyed the Snetterton sun on what was a bumper weekend of motorsport for Norfolk.
“It’s absolutely mega,” added Laverty. “The BSB Championship has got such a following now and when the sun comes out the fans come out, and this weekend has been awesome.
“The whole area around the track has been lined with fans and through the paddock coming to see us and get things signed. It’s tough on a race weekend to spend enough time with all the fans, but we do appreciated it and it’s awesome to see them all come out – it’d be far worse if no one wanted to come out and see us.”