The Spanish rider followed that up with eleventh in race two, and he now sits eleventh overall in the championship, with 32 points. He is the second highest Honda rider in the rankings, two points ahead of his old BSB rival Ryuichi Kiyonari, and has scored in every race so far.
After missing out in qualifying for Superpole by the narrowest of margins, the 2005 BSB Champion had to start from row five of the grid and on race day, the unexpectedly overcast conditions of race one were replaced by bright sunshine and air temperatures of over 30°C for race two. Lavilla was only 13 seconds from the win in the opener; 18 seconds from glory in race two with his bike being amongst the fastest through the speed trap all weekend.
Lavilla's team tested in Spain twice in quick succession before arriving at Valencia and despite still missing some key parts to bring the machine up to full standard, due to the late arrival of the machine itself, improvements have already been made over the outgoing model.
Gregorio Lavilla: "It was a hard weekend in qualifying but better in the races. To miss Superpole by one thousandth of a second, and still be less than a second from pole, was hard. But that's the championship; it gets tougher and tighter every year. We could get the bike to work OK on used tyres, not enough to win yet but not too bad. We need to improve the set-up for use with new tyres and qualifiers. That will come with knowledge of the bike. We need some more parts for the gearbox and transmission but that is also just time and opportunity to fit them. The rest of the riders seem to have more punch than us out of corners on their gearing right now, even though our engine is good."
Paul Bird: "A good weekend really, especially after qualifying with the new bike for the first time. It's been fantastic, the guys have done so well with the bike and Greg has ridden great today. He's been impressive; as fast as anyone on the track sometimes, and we are chuffed with the speed of the bike. We will get the braking system sorted for Assen, and I think the bike will be really strong at the next round. I think from now on we will be very competitive."
The next race takes place in Assen, on April 27, giving the team plenty of time to prepare the machine for its next stage of upgrade.
Superbike Race One Result
1, L Lanzi (Ducati) 37m01.894s, 2 T Bayliss (Ducati) +2.987s, 3, T Corser (Yamaha) +7.287s, 4, F Nieto (Suzuki) +11.992s, 5, C Checa (Honda) +12.824s, 6, K Muggeridge (Honda) +13.125s, 7, G Lavilla (Vent Axia VK Honda) +13.191s, 8, R Laconi (Kawasaki) +13.906s, 9, M Tamada (Kawasaki) +17.254s, 10, R Rolfo (Honda) +18.606s.
Superbike Race Two Result
1, N Haga (Yamaha) 37m03.759s, 2, T Bayliss (Ducati) +1.551s, 3, C Checa (Honda) +2.903s, 4, R Kiyonari (Honda) +7.277s, 5, T Corser (Yamaha) +8.051s, 6, Y Kagayama (Suzuki) +9.223s, 7, R Xaus (Ducati) +10.164s, 8, M Biaggi (Ducati) +10.614s, 9, R Laconi (Kawasaki) +17.234s, 10, F Nieto (Suzuki) +18.100s, 11, G Lavilla (Vent Axia VK Honda) +18.288s.
2008 World Superbike Championship Standings after Round 3
1, Troy Bayliss (AUS) 128pts
2, Fonsi Nieto (ESP) 80pts
3, Troy Corser (AUS) 72pts
=, Carlos Checa (ESP) 72pts
5, Ruben Xaus (ESP) 68pts
6, Noriyuki Haga (JPN) 47pts
7, Max Biaggi (ITA) 44pts
8, Lorenzo Lanzi (ITA) 42pts
9, Max Neukirchner (GER) 39pts
10, Michel Fabrizio (ITA) 37pts
11, Gregorio Lavilla (ESP) 32pts