Eugene Laverty Returns to World SuperbikeAt 30-years old, Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty has competed in the former 125cc and 250cc GP classes, World Superport, World Superbike, and MotoGP. But he has yet to earn a title.He finished runner up three times (2009, 2010 World Supersport, Honda; 2013 World Superbike, Aprilia), but is still chasing that debut championship.
Following four decent years in World Superbike, Laverty moved to MotoGP with the Aspar Honda team for 2015, finishing 22nd overall. Aspar switched to Ducati machinery for 2016, and Laverty had much better luck so far, earning a best finish of fourth at the Argentinean Grand Prix.Laverty’s true calling is World Superbike, and that’s where he’ll return. Laverty, who clinched 13 victories and 33 podiums during 104 WSBK race starts, joins the Milwaukee Aprilia team aboard the RSV4 for the 2017 SBK season.“I am excited to return to World Superbike with Aprilia,” says the Ballymena-born 30-year-old. “I’ve had a lot of success there, it was a great period. During my two years in MotoGP I have learned a lot; there’s been some difficult times, of course, but I have improved a lot as a rider and I’m looking forward to this next stage in my career.“I’m very motivated because for the last two years it has been a different kind of fight; I’ve been in the middle of the field, trying to improve. So, to go back with a factory Aprilia and the chance to win races and fight for a world title is a different mindset and one I am really prepared for.“Next year is going to be very exciting. There are a lot of strong riders now and there will be even more next year, with Stefan Bradl coming across (from MotoGP) and me moving back. It is going to be very competitive. For sure, Jonathan Rea is World Champion and is leading the title chase again now, so he is going to be difficult to beat, but a lot of guys are motivated to chase him down. I’m returning with one objective: to be World Champion.”Laverty’s motorcycle racing career began at 16-years old in Britain. He competed in the 125cc and 250cc GP classes from 2004-2008 before joining the World Supersport Championship, competing with Parkalgar Honda and collecting 12 victories. He missed out on the 2009 world title to Cal Crutchlow by just seven points and the 2010 crown to Kenan Sofuoglu by just 11 points, making him the category’s championship runner-up for two consecutive seasons. He moved to WSBK in 2011, and missed out on the 2013 to Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes by 23 points.