LAVERTY LEAVES MOTOGP TO FIGHT FOR WSB CROWN
A factory Aprilia and top British team tempted Irishman away from GPS
Eugene Laverty will make his return to the World Superbike championship in 2017 after signing a deal to race in an all-new factory Aprilia squad run by the British Shaun Muir Racing team.
Following his impressive sixth place finish in the Brno Motogp race, Laverty confirmed to MCN that he will be returning to the manufacturer that he so nearly clinched the WSB 2013 title with.
“I’ve been sizing up both paddocks, but the machinery was what tipped the balance. It’s what I’ve always based my decisions on, and you should always be on equal bikes to your team-mate. If one’s a year older, some people don’t realise that, and as a racer you can’t give away that advantage.
“The fact that there was a good option on the table in WSB helped too, and I had to size the two options up. The goal in Motogp would be to keep stepping forward, but I was still going to be on a two-year-old bike in 2017.
“That’s when I started seriously considering WSB, and then the opportunity came up to return on my old bike again! I won nine races on it and finished second in the championship in my last year and that means I can pick up where I left off and go there fighting for a world title.”
And while it may have been a difficult debut year in the World Superbike paddock for SMR after their BSB success with Josh Brookes in 2015, Laverty is certain that with the right combination of factors that they can challenge for the title – a belief reinforced by some inside knowledge!
“British championship, world championship – wherever it is, to win titles you have to be able to arrive at those rounds as a complete team. It takes structure and key personnel in place to do that, and Shaun Muir has done it already with two different manufacturers.
“It helps that my brother Michael used to race for Shaun too – he was able to reiterate just how tight a ship he runs. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him and the team – and jumping machinery to get a race-winning package under his rider shows that he’s keen to win.
“The aim for Phillip Island will be to win, but what I’ve learned in years past is that my mistake was often not being willing to settle. I’ve learned that in GP when the race win wasn’t
available – my mentality has changed, and that’s what it takes to win titles. It’s what Jonathan Rea did last year, on the podium at every round up until he won the title.
“2017 World Superbike champion would be nice, but Jonathan Rea will likely be the 2016 champion, and he’s starting to gather momentum that could be hard to stop. I’m not underestimating the challenge at all, because the opposition is fierce at the minute.”
‘I finished second in my last year and that means I can pick up where I left off and go there fighting for a title’ EUGENE LAVERTY
Laverty was tempted back to WSB by full-spec Aprilia machinery and the well-run SMR team