Laverty sets sights on Donington double date
MICHAEL Laverty wants to emulate Tommy Hill with back-to-back victories at Donington Park as the MCE Insurance British Superbike season enters the final round before the Showdown.
The Louth-based Samsung Honda rider secured his place in the championship shoot-out for a third year in a row with two podium finishes at Cadwell Park.
However, he also watched defending champion Hill extend his grip at the top of the standings with back-to-back victories.
The top six contenders are re-allocated 500 points plus their season's podium credits for the final three races.
And a pair of victories in Leicestershire this weekend would help the Ulsterman cut the gap on the trio of Hill, Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne – and gain a timely momentum boost.
While two trips to the podium are considered a minimum for Laverty, the 31-year-old knows the absence of the injured Byrne gives him a great chance to make a statement to his title rivals going into the final rounds.
"It's crunch time now really, everything matters from this point in," he said.
"Anything less than a podium finish in both races would be a disaster at this point.
"We've tested at Donington this season and Tommy hasn't, so I'd say we're back on an even keel going into this weekend.
"I'm the furthest back of the four guys who are confirmed in the Showdown but anything can happen – last year Tommy came into the final round 20 points down and came out as champion.
"Winning a race at the round before The Showdown is massive – it gives you a bit of a mental edge over your rivals and also that little bit of confidence you need going into the final rounds."
While his then-Swan Yamaha team-mate Hill won the title last season, Laverty was left disappointed with a second consecutive fourth-place finish in the standings.
But the racer hopes his experience will stand him in good stead this weekend – and he learns from his mistakes.
"I went in last year all guns blazing for the final rounds and it ended up costing me," he said.
"I've got a more sensible approach now and I think mentally I'm stronger than I've ever been before. Mental strength is half the battle at this stage of the season."
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