Positives taken from frustrating weekend for Milwaukee Aprilia at Portimao
Milwaukee Aprilia delivered their best Superpole result of 2017 so far at Portimao, riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori taking P2 and P3 on the grid.
The team had shown promising pace all weekend and were consistently within the top ten in Free Practice. Both riders delivered in the pole shootout session, with blistering laps that put them on the front row together for the first time and behind only series leader Rea.
Race One proved more difficult for the team, as both Aprilia RSV4 RFs struggled with rear tyres that were losing grip throughout the race. Eugene and Lorenzo diced with Davies and Melandri for second, third and fourth, in the opening laps, defending well but ultimately lacking the rear grip to mount a serious attack or defence.
After slipping to P7 and P8 respectively, Eugene and Lorenzo were able to bring their bikes home for solid top ten points finishes and some invaluable race data for the team to analyse.
Race Two saw Eugene and Lorenzo start in good second row positions from P4 and P5. Eugene beat Van der Mark off the line to take third, and by lap three had moved to second after a strong pass on the inside of Camier. Lorenzo dropped to eighth on lap one, and engaged Melandri and Lowes in a hard fight for the position.
Eugene defended well against the rapid Davies in third, before being passed on lap six. As he struggled with rear grip again he lost third to Van der Mark, but a much-improved setup allowed him to maintain his pace and come home fourth for his best result of 2017. Lorenzo continued to fight hard, racing with Torres and Mercado for seventh. Rear grip issues affected his race again, but he passed Mercado on lap eighteen and like his teammate was able to consolidate his pace well, and took the chequered flag in sixth.
The team will test at Portimao on Monday after the race, and use the opportunity to build on the clear progress they have made this weekend as they head into the last three rounds of WorldSBK 2017.