Eugene Laverty overcame a broken bone in his right foot to return to the World Superbike podium in Malaysia for the first time since February.
|Laverty stood on the podium for the first time since round one
Photo: Steve English
Laverty was back aboard his Voltcom Crescent GSX-R1000 having spent the previous week testing Suzuki’s MotoGP bike that will compete in the series full-time in 2015. The testing wasn’t without incident as Laverty arrived in Malaysia battered and bruised after a high-speed fall at the fearsome Doohan Corner at Phillip Island.
Having qualified seventh the Northern Irishman avoided the first chaos to sit comfortably inside the top six at the end of lap one. He quickly disposed with first Toni Elias, then Chaz Davies to take the final podium spot by over two seconds.
“It was fantastic to get back on the podium in race one – a nice reward for all the guys,” said Laverty. “They deserved it in Donington but I threw it away in race one, so we are back where we belong I think.”
With Claudio Corti’s engine blow up bringing out the red flags four laps into race two and the subsequent restart running over just ten laps, Laverty was at an immediate disadvantage. He struggled in the early laps on older tyres and could only manage seventh after a close battle with Jonathan Rea.
“Race two, with the shorter distance, didn’t suit my Suzuki because we were better on old tyres but it’s been a positive weekend in all and it’s nice to finally be back in the top three for the first time since Phillip Island.”
By contrast team-mate Alex Lowes suffered a nightmarish day, leaving Malaysia with just seven points for ninth place in race two. Lowes’ race lasted just two corners as he was unable to avoid a wayward Tom Sykes, who in turn had been collected by Loris Baz. According to team boss Paul Denning Lowes received “a very severe bang on the head” in the incident but he eventually overcame both Davide Giugliano and Leon Haslam to claim ninth place in scorching hot conditions.
“There’s not much I can say about race one, but I definitely learnt something in race two,” Lowes said. “I really didn’t feel good at all, it was a big impact in the race one crash, but I dug deep and it was a good experience overall on a new circuit. It is a great track here at Sepang and I wish I could have done better, but now I’m really looking forward to Misano and seeing how close we can get to the front.”