Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty emerged unscathed from a dramatic, and fast, racing incident during Race One at Imola.
Saturday’s Superpole sessions were promising for the Milwaukee Aprilia rider, with Laverty qualifying an encouraging P6 after going straight to Superpole 2 from Free Practice.
Laverty made a good getaway and quickly took fifth place, and although he couldn’t manage the pace of the top four he ran well in the middle of the field, enjoying battles with the Ducati of Fores and the MV Agusta of Camier.
As his pace dropped Laverty fell into the clutches of the Yamahas of Van der Mark and Lowes, defending well against both until a late move from Lowes resulted in a contact of the bikes.
Laverty’s bike suffered a broken front brake line and he was unable to slow as he approached Turn 17 – he managed to jump from his bike at high speed and avoided a collision with the wall, while his bike burst into flames on impact.
Laverty said: “I was optimistic at the start because the bike was feeling good, but I started losing pace after about 7 lap and I was moving backwards. I tried hanging in, and just before the crash happened the bike started to feel good again.
“We didn’t have much rear grip today. It was good at the start and then went away, but then it came back in the middle of the race which was strange. That’s something we need to look closely at, at times I felt I could really push but it was disappointing to see other guys coming past.
“I’m OK after the crash and I thought it would hurt me more, but my gear did its job and I’m ready to get on the bike again tomorrow. It’s hard to know how tomorrow will go, obviously there are positives to take from today but we have to analyse where we’re struggling.”
Laverty visited the Medical Centre for precautionary checks but has been deemed fit to race on Sunday.