Tyres a burning issue for Silverstone battle
SHOWDOWN contender Michael Laverty admits he is sweating over the form of his tyres ahead of the penultimate round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone this weekend.
The Samsung Honda rider's title challenge is hanging in the balance after he struggled with the soft and hard tyre compounds at the last round at Assen – twice leading before dropping back to seventh in both races.
With Silverstone a similar high-speed circuit to Assen and less than a week in between both rounds, the 31-year-old is concerned about the possibility of another tyre-related setback in Northamptonshire.
Despite being hot on the heels of leaders all season, Laverty is now 38 points behind Josh Brookes, though the Samsung Honda rider has too much Showdown experience to rule himself out of contention just yet.
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"Last season I was further adrift with just one round to go and if things had gone my way I could have done it so you can't rule it out," said Laverty.
"Tyres were an issue for us earlier in the year and it's come back to haunt us a little bit now. Obviously it's far from ideal but we will have to see how we do when we get to practice.
"I think people have seen enough of the Showdown to know anything can happen so I have to keep on believing I can do it.
"I'm up against it after Assen and I can't afford to have any more slip-ups if I want to be in with a shout at the last round at Brands Hatch.
"At the very least I need to be back on the podium and the frustrating thing is I know we have the pace because, before we lost the tyres at Assen, I was in front."
Laverty qualified on pole at Silverstone last season before following that up with a second in race one and then a fourth in race two.
He finished fourth overall last year, matching his effort in 2010, and Laverty believes he can replicate his Silverstone achievements if everything comes together with the bike.
"I know I can be fast round there, it's a circuit I enjoy but so much depends on the tyres," he said.
"Obviously pole would be fantastic but we will have to see what happens because we won't know until we've got a few laps under our belts with both tyre compounds."
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