Posted: 18 Feb 2014
Yes, we know he runs the Irish flag, but for the purpose of this article – we’ll call him a Brit!
Eugene Laverty is one of the best riders on the World Superbike grid, he made that quite clear last year when he did everything he could to try and stop Tom Sykes taking the title. Therefore it was somewhat surprising when he was ditched by the factory Aprilia team at the end of last year. With little choice of where to go, he signed for Paul Denning’s Crescent Suzuki team but with the GSX-R1000 not having had much success in previous years, whether he’ll be able to repeat his 2013 title challenge remains to be seen.
Laverty’s one of those gutsy riders who constantly gives it his all, he has had his fair share of crashes in recent years but when it all comes together for him he can be terrifyingly fast. Paul Denning’s signing of Eugene Laverty alongside 2013 British Superbike Champion, Alex Lowes is a stroke of genius; if there were ever going to be two riders who could take the GSX-R1000 back to the top it’d be two riders with the mentality and raw speed of Laverty and Lowes.
However, all has been going well for the Verwood-based outfit, with positive results at the Portimao test in late January and astonishing pace at Phillip Island so far this week. Topping the timesheets on day one and running a close second place to Tom Sykes overall – Laverty looks to be in a strong position for the season ahead.
We know he’s got the talent and speed and at the moment the GSXR-1000 seems to be holding up and Laverty’s had nothing but praise for the Yoshimura-powered machine this week. But the facts remain, the GSX-R1000 on paper is a slower bike than the Kawasaki and Aprilia. Whether or not the bike can keep up throughout the season will be the key to Laverty’s title challenge and let’s not forget how things turned out for Leon Haslam on the same bike just four seasons ago.
“It’s been a good test in all. We’ve been trying a lot of things and probably the biggest step we made was right at the end” said Laverty at the end of the official test in Australia.
“In the last fifteen minutes we made a big improvement with the rear settings so I’m really happy to finish the test on a high and to make good lap-times in the high temperatures. We have some detailed stuff to try over the race weekend but in general I’m very happy to be riding the Suzuki and we’ll keep pushing hard to improve further.”