Having taken his near Superstock-specification Ducati to British Superbike Cup glory last season, John Laverty should have had the pick of the rides in 2009.
However, much like his brother Michael, things didn't quite go to plan for Laverty during the off-season as his planned graduation to the championship class with North West 200 Ducati unravelled before his eyes after a dispute between the team and the Italian manufacturer.
With North West 200 taking its backing to Rob Mac Yamaha with Michael Rutter, Laverty looked to have been left in the lurch. Nonetheless, Laverty made it to the grid in 2009 with Hawk Kawasaki, rebranded as Buildbase Kawasaki by virtue of his personal sponsors stepping in to up their involvement this season.
Expectations were initially modest as the outfit persevered with the unloved Kawasaki ZX-10R, but much like 'team green' counterparts MSS Colchester, Buildbase and Laverty got to grips with the bike in 2009 and put in a number of impressive performances.
While Simon Andrews garnered much of the Kawasaki-related attention in 2009, Laverty was still a top five finisher on four occasions, with a best finish of fourth coming at Mallory Park – results that even he admitted had been better than he'd realistically expected.
While qualifying often gave Laverty too much to do come race day – save for a front row start at Cadwell Park -, it did however show him to be an adept racer alongside some accomplished competition.
A top ten finish in the overall standings (one of three Kawasaki riders to achieve such a feat in 2009) was his reward, as is an identical finish in this vote. Earning him another season with the same team, a podium finish in surely in the offing for Laverty in 2010.
4th (Mallory Park)
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008: