Having switched to the ART chassis prior to the last race at Aragon Laverty has had to adapt his riding style towards the new bike having spent the opening 12 races of the year riding the PBM chassis.
Speaking after practice Laverty admitted the difficulties that he was having but was confident that they could be overcome tomorrow and allow PBM to have a strong weekend at one of the few circuits that he had prior knowledge of before arriving for a race weekend:
“It hasn’t been a great day in getting a rhythm but the first session went OK,” said Laverty. “In the afternoon we tried some things to improve the chatter and went in the wrong direction. We made the front a bit too high and hard and it chattered even more and was horrendous. At the end we put in a new tyre and the front just wouldn’t grip so I went slower than in the morning session.
“But we know where we need to improve tomorrow and what settings to put in. It’s funny because usually I slowly build up on Friday whereas today I was chasing and making changes that didn’t work for us. A little bit is related to using a new bike but we know how to fix them for tomorrow and we should be there or thereabouts tomorrow.”
Sepang, built in 1999, has hosted Formula 1 races for the last 14 years and the affect that the cars have had on the track does not go unnoticed for MotoGP riders. Under braking a Formula 1 car can generate four G into numerous corners at Sepang and this places a tremendous load on the track surface which will cause ripples in the tarmac to form. These ripples play havoc with bikes, numerous other circuits such as Silverstone and Barcelona suffer the same issue, and for Laverty the problem is exacerbated by his chassis:
“There’s a lot of ripples from the F1 cars here that create chatter and some bikes, like the 2012 ART chassis, suffers more than others. We improved it during the test and got rid of the chatter so we just need to do that again. We’re a little behind where I want to be on day one but should be OK.”