Eugene Laverty had a weekend to forget at the Japanese round of the MotoGP World Championship at Motegi, where the Aspar Ducati rider’s race ended prematurely on Sunday following an early crash.
On Friday, the Toome man was fortunate to escape serious injury following a massive high-side during free practice, which saw the 30-year-old flung from his Desmosedici GP14.2.
After initial examination at the circuit medical centre, he was flown by helicopter to the Dokkyo Medical University Hospital for precautionary checks, which revealed he had not suffered any injuries.
Laverty was then passed fit to continue but the Northern Ireland rider slid out of contention on the third lap of the race and later held his hands up, admitting he had made an uncharacteristic mistake.
Laverty, a model of consistency all season, saw his bid to finish in the top ten in the championship suffer a dent and is now keen to move on to this weekend’s Australian round at the scenic Phillip Island circuit.
“The crash was my mistake. I was overtaking [Katsuyuki] Nakasuga in turn nine, the first gear left corner. I tried to turn too tight when I overtook him and lost the front at the apex,” he explained.
“The third lap of the race is too early to make a mistake like that so I am upset because after everything that has happened this weekend.
“The main thing today was to try and get a result but I made a silly mistake on lap three, so that’s why I am disappointed. It has been a strange weekend for sure, maybe it wasn’t to be,” Laverty added.
“We started the weekend so strong until the crash. Now we will try to regroup and start again in Australia.”
Laverty dropped one place in the standings to 12th and is now 13 points behind Spain’s Hector Barbera, who occupies tenth position.
Laverty is preparing for his final three races in the MotoGP premier class ahead of his move back to the World Superbike Championship in 2017, when he will ride a factory-supported Aprilia for Shaun Muir Racing with title backing from Milwaukee.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez won his third MotoGP world title at Motegi, where he claimed his maiden win at the Twin Ring Circuit. Marquez sealed the championship after Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both crashed out in separate incidents.