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Czech Grand Prix Race Report For PBM Aprilia & Michael laverty

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After Frankfurt, I flew into Prague on Tuesday, en route to the BWIN Czech Grand Prix in Brno and met up with Broc Parkes, where we rented a car and drove to Brno together. We grabbed a bite to eat before we checked into our hotel rooms and it was great to get to know Broc better. Working out of the same pit box , you’d think the whole Rapid Solicitors/Paul Bird Motorsports team would be pretty familiar with each other, but truth be told, we’re all really busy doing our own thing for our respective halves and after the day is done, about all we can do, is go back to our hotel rooms and get some good rack time before we get up at Oh-Dark-Thirty the next day and get back at it all over again. As a result, even though there aren’t any walls, we kinda operate like a team within a team.

Wednesday morning, we began the familiar routine of setting up the pit box and getting ready for the race weekend. After getting the pitbox set up, we got straight to work, stripping and cleaning the bikes and since we seemed to be making great headway, so we called it an early day and went out on the town in Brno for a nice Czech dinner.

Thursday, we removed the motor from Indy and put in a high mileage unit from earlier in the season to use for practice. It all went together straight forward enough, but when we fired it up that night, ML2 seemed to be throwing an error code, but the data screen wouldn’t display anything . The bike seemed to run fine, but we were stumped; was it a software glitch? We went over it with a fine tooth comb and couldn’t find anything wrong, so we called it a day.

Tough day, I lost both FP3 and FP4 with an electronic issue but had a reasonable crack at Q1, not too far away considering. Image by Gold&Goose

Tough day, I lost both FP3 and FP4 with an electronic issue but had a reasonable crack at Q1, not too far away considering. Image by Gold&Goose

The next day in MotoGP Free Practice, Michael went out, did a lap and immediately came back to the pit box. “The dash is screwing up’” he remarked and “it’s cutting out at high revs.” Again, we couldn’t pull an error code, so we pulled the harness and sensors, checking everything individually. After putting it all back together, we fired it up and got the same problem all over again. We chased the problem all day long with no resolution. Ultimately, we had to have Magneti Marelli swap the ECS and reboot the software and engine management strategies, Saturday morning. That solved everything, but it slowed us up in qualifying, as we weren’t able to focus on setup during the practice sessions and as a result, Michael Laverty qualified in P22, not nearly as good as we would have preferred.
Come race day, MotoGP Warm-Up didn’t go all that well, we improved a few hundredths, but fell back a spot in the qualifications, but we had high hopes for he race. Come the race, launch control failed to engage and Michael Laverty fell back to last place at T1. I didn’t see the 1st 2 laps, as I was busy converting ML2 to wet mode, but Michael struggled in the field. “I didn’t have rear grip like the other guys,” Laverty said in his debriefing after the race and in lap 16, he ended up in the gravel.

“Having a dig today resulted in digging a few sand castles; and a bruise or maybe 2”

“Having a dig today resulted in digging a few sand castles; and a bruise or maybe 2”

the bike was pretty messed up. It had taken a hard hit on the left side and got airborne; we lost the radiator, left side controls & levers, wheel & rotor. Victor and I will have a lot of work to do when we get to Silverstone! The weekend should have been good, but the little things slipped us up in the end. Stay tuned for my Silverstone report!

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