Aprilia SBK Assen Round Review
Assen, 22 April 2012 – The Assen round Sunday will be long remembered for the continuous pendulum of emotions, both because of the uncertain weather and the great show on the track. The Aprilia Racing Team confirmed itself as a key player in spite of the difficulties Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty faced throughout the weekend. The Northern Irish rider's rostrum finish in Race 2 ended a day which returns the championship's first place position to Biaggi, even if only by one point.
The first thing to note about race one is that it was red flagged due to rain with nine laps to go. After returning to the pits to put on the softer tyres for the wet, the riders lined up for a new start in the driving rain. Max and Eugene immediately demonstrated excellent pace in truly difficult grip and visibility conditions. Biaggi and Laverty rode past the chequered flag respectively in fourth and fifth place.
Race 2, on the other hand, started with no rain and quickly drying asphalt, so much that almost all the riders chose full slicks directly from the starting grid. Max, starting from the fifth row, was able to earn twelfth place within the first three laps, taking advantage of some mistakes made by the forerunners to end the race in eighth place. Eugene's race was a battle of the top 5 with overtaking and fast laps galore. The rider from Northern Ireland skilfully managed a difficult race and flew to his first podium (third place) under the Aprilia Racing colours.
Checa's seventeenth place in Race 2 returned the championship lead spot to Max Biaggi, albeit only one point in front of the Spaniard. The Aprilia Racing Team is also at the top of the team standings.
“Despite our provisional leadership we can't really be euphoric – confesses Max – I struggled throughout the whole weekend and the two races were difficult as well. When you're aiming for the world championship you have to set your sights on the biggest prize. Placings are important but this can't become a constant. In any case, we are leaving Holland with some heavy spoils in points, and considering the difficulties we had this weekend we can't complain. However, working to solve the problems that slowed us down is of utmost importance in order to come back and fight in the positions that count from here on out”.
Eugene Laverty is satisfied with his performance: “We worked really hard this weekend and after a difficult start I knew I could fight for the podium. The two races were difficult, especially the restart in Race 1 in the driving rain and truly precarious grip conditions, but in the end we're leaving Assen with more certainty and my first podium for Aprilia. In Race 2 I had fun. I battled from the first to the last lap for third place. Now we'll need to be good enough to continue on this path, earning important points for morale and the championship standings”.