John Laverty admits his recent run of good results in the MCE British Superbike Championship has exceeded his initial expectations as he continues to help Kawasaki scale the BSB hierarchy.
The reigning Superbike Cup champion made the switch to the championship class in 2009 with the Hawk Kawasaki team, rebranded as Buildbase Kawasaki in light of his personal sponsor.
While he endured a quiet start to the season, Laverty has followed Simon Andrews and Julien Da Costa on the sister Confused.com machines in establishing the Kawasaki ZX-10R as a force to be reckoned with in recent races.
With four top five finishes under his belt so far this year and a front row start at Cadwell Park, while Laverty had set his sights on achieving that feat prior to the season, he confesses he is surprised to have emerged as an increasingly regular podium contender.
“I guess it has exceeded expectations,” he told Crash.net
. “That is always your goal, but now we are becoming confident challengers for the podium. We thought we'd have the chance to get a podium at a circuit the Kawasaki goes well on, but it seems the bike is going well on every circuit.”
With Kawasaki struggling for form in 2008, Laverty reveals he was nervous about switching to the Hawk team this season, but says their current form is an indicator of the bike's full potential.
“Even I was a bit wary at the beginning,” he added. “I hadn't ridden a Kawasaki before, so I didn't want to write it off before I had even tried it just because of what critics have been saying. Last year, the teams were struggling to get the best out of the bikes, but we're learning more about them and we're getting a good package.
“Everybody is so critical of Kawasaki, but how can you knock third, fourth and fifth in the last race? It is really nice to see an underdog bike doing well.”
Looking ahead to the future, Laverty is setting his sights on a maiden podium finish in the remaining three rounds of the season. As for 2010, he says no plans are likely to be made until the rules and regulations have been finalised.
“The teams are waiting to see what the rules bring. They need to have the budget in place before they can approach manufacturers. It won't be until Silverstone or Oulton Park that there will be any signings in place.
“I know Buildbase are keen to work with Stuart (Hicken) again, he has done a great job this year. It is early days and nothing has been decided with, but Buildbase have been with me since 2005, so I want to honour them as much as I can.”