2012 World Superbike
The 2011 World Superbike year was learning experience for rookie Eugene Laverty. But after a year on the Yamaha Factory R1, Laverty will now join one of WSBK’s most esteemed pilots – Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi.
The 25-year-old Laverty joined World Superbike in 2011 after three years in World Supersport. During the 2009 and 2010 World Supersport championships, Laverty finished second overall both years.
Laverty, who runs the number 58, then joined Melandri for 2011 on the now-defunct Yamaha World Superbike team.
While competing for Yamaha in 2011 World Superbike, Laverty finished fourth overall; he had six podiums, which included his double-win at Monza World SBK.
Following is a WorldSBK.com interview with Laverty as the Northern Irishman discusses the past and future.
Q. You were very fast, under the lap record, when you first tested the Aprilia in Portimão. How does it feel?
Eugene Laverty says: “I didn’t spend too much time on the bike, from nine o’clock to three o’clock on the Tuesday after the race. I was able to go very fast, very quickly, a little bit like I did last year on the Yamaha. I went fast on the Yamaha the first time I rode it as well, but this time I was under the lap record.”
Q. What do you expect from the next test?
Eugene Laverty says: “In the Portimao test at the end of November I’m going to work with the mechanics that I planned to work with for next year. The first test was just with some of the Aprilia guys. I look forward to get a little bit of work done and get a better understanding of the bike; we were already fast in Portimao so I’m looking forward to it.”
Q. What was the biggest challenge you got racing a 1000cc bike in 2011?
Eugene Laverty says: “Mainly I had to learn the chassis a lot, because there are so many things you can change. In the middle of the season we had some problems with wheelies. In the end it was a chassis problem. I had never encountered this problem before; normally I raced a bike with 140bhp the bike doesn’t want to wheelie everywhere so that was a new learning curve for me.”
Q. You finished fourth (almost third) in the championship and you showed you could be very consistent. Is that the way you feel about it too?
Eugene Laverty says: “The important thing for me was to be consistent, I didn’t want to come in as a rookie, win one race and finish second and then finish seventh. I wanted to learn. I was not in a rush as I knew it was going to be a learning year. In the end I did a good job I think next year I can step it up.”