Assen problems are a blow to Laverty's title ambition
MICHAEL Laverty may have only just completed the first round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Showdown – but his hopes of claiming the title were rocked at Assen.
The 31-year-old appeared to be hitting form just at the right time ahead of round ten in the Netherlands yesterday, which saw the top six break off to enter the Showdown for the title.
Laverty's last four races prior to Assen produced four trips to the podium, however, he struggled greatly with which tyres to run and recorded a pair of seventh-place finishes.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Honda rider's Showdown rivals Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes made the most of a freak accident to leader Tommy Hill to record victories in race one and two respectively.
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Brookes now leads the Championship by two points over Byrne with Hill a further 20 behind and Laverty now fifth, another 16 shy, with Alex Lowes leapfrogging him into fourth.
"The first race was horrendous. After the first eight laps I was cruising," said Laverty – who faces a short turnaround in races with round 11 at Silverstone this coming weekend.
"I didn't push it at all and then on lap nine I took the lead off Shane.
"But after that I took a big slide at the end of back straight and it was just gone from then on.
"Every corner I tipped into was hard. I was tipping in so gingerly and I was a sitting duck at the end of the race and fell back to seventh.
"We changed to the harder tyres for race two, we had no option but to, and we just hoped we could last longer on it. It had to be better than race one, but it was about the same."
The weekend started with so much promise for Laverty – ranked fourth overall heading into Assen, he then qualified second as BSB made an appearance in the Netherlands for the first time ever.
Laverty's Samsung Honda team-mate Jon Kirkham didn't fare much better either – 13th in race one, he failed to finish race two, putting his whereabouts next season further in doubt.
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