Podium double seals Louth rider Michael Laverty's end-game spot at Donnington Park in British Superbikes championship
MICHAEL Laverty believes he has the MCE Insurance British Superbike leaders in his sights after snaring two podium finishes at Donington Park yesterday to send a message of intent to his rivals.
The 31-year-old Louth-based Samsung Honda rider kicked things off with a third-place finish in race one of the day and he improved to second in his second outing, coming home behind Josh Brookes but significantly getting the better of overall championship leader Tommy Hill.
As a result, Laverty is currently in fourth place in the standings, as podium credits take precedence over overall points as the top six now enter the Showdown phase.
It continued Laverty's excellent recent form, following up from Cadwell Park where he also achieved two podium finishes – both in third – and as a result, he expects his rivals to sit up and take notice.
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"The first one wasn't a bad race for us, especially on the restart as I got up to third and I didn't want to get messed up at the start," said Laverty, who has 14 podium credits, Hill leading with 35.
"I got ahead of Stuart (Easton) quite quickly and then I tried to close in on Tommy, but I just couldn't push any harder.
"For the second race we were trying to improve the braking as that is where we have been strong in previous rounds."
There was not such good news for Samsung Honda team-mate Jon Kirkham, pictured, who endured a frustrating day with finishes of seventh and ninth on the day.
Kirkham, however, believes there are positives to take despite missing the podium at his home track and he's keeping his fingers crossed his form is not going unnoticed.
"It was frustrating in race one because I did all the hard work on Saturday and got myself on the front row," he said.
"And then I just completely fluffed my start, and as the race wore on my front tyre didn't feel as good as it had done all weekend.
"I got stuck behind Stuart Easton and then the red flag came out. In the second half, the front tyre was better but there was oil down in my strong part of the circuit so I was losing the same amount of time that way.
"I wanted to put on a good show because this is a home race for me and, aside from that first lap, I think I did that. I've said since my crash at Oulton Park that I needed to get back into race trim and feel good on the bike and I'm there now.
"It's a boost for me because there's three rounds remaining and I know I can push for a podium in those final races. I came into this season with higher hopes than just one trip to the podium, but I can put things in perspective and hopefully the team can see I am still worthy of a ride for next season."
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