Michael Laverty Nationality:
581 (Showdown)Championship position:
Three seasons, three bikes, three 'Title Showdown' assaults… but Michael Laverty is still seeking that elusive first British Superbike Championship title.
In many ways, some may look back on 2012 as being Laverty's best opportunity yet to seize a BSB crown, the popular Ulsterman given the chance to step from the shadow of title-winning Swan Yamaha counterpart Tommy Hill by assuming team leader status at multiple champions Honda.
Resplendent in its new backing from Samsung, hopes were high in the Laverty camp, but there was little joy to be experienced during the opening events. Indeed, a pair of sixth place finishes were the scant highlight from the opening three rounds, a run of form that would have almost certainly ruled Laverty out of the title fight under the former BSB format very early on in the year.
Eventually, Laverty found his way on the CBR1000RR, galloping to victory at Snetterton and Knockhill to lift himself into the critical top six, not to mention display his belated title credentials. Proceeding to cling on to a distant, but comfortable, fourth place at the subsequent cut-off point, Laverty entered the three round 'Title Showdown' determined to make the most of his renewed opportunity.
However, though Laverty was certainly aggressive in his intentions with feisty performances at Assen and Silverstone, issues with tyre degradation would ultimately put him out of contention before the final round had even gotten underway.
Furthermore, he also had to suffer the ignominy of being beaten overall by 'satellite' Honda rider Alex Lowes, consigning him to fifth in the final standings. It is a performance reflected here by Laverty's seventh place in your vote, well behind Lowes.
Another year on the CBR1000RR might have given Laverty the chance to finish what he had started, but MotoGP with Paul Bird Motorsport awaits him instead – as it stands, he is the only 2012 rider to be graduating out of BSB in 2013…Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:
4th Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
5thTop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
N/ATop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
9th Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2012:8. James Westmoreland9. Barry Burrell10. Ian LowryDo you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...