Eugene Laverty believes the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship presents his brother Michael with his best chance of claiming the title as he brings consistency and continuity from last season while his rivals have swapped bikes and teams.
Michael's youngest brother Eugene, who claimed his career-best MotoGP result with fourth place in Argentina last weekend, says his quiet approach to pre-season testing with Tyco BMW after remained with the Norther Irish squad will reap rewards.
The 34-year-old topped the final collective BSB test day at Donington Park last week and his brother says he heads into the new season as favourite for a maiden BSB title.
“All through the winter he has been working away at it quietly rather than putting in that one quick lap which a lot of younger riders do,” Eugene Laverty said. “He is keeping his power dry and in my book he is the favourite for the title this year. He is looking really strong on his second year with the bike and the team.
“I was happy to see him stay there [at Tyco BMW] because I didn't want to see someone else reap all the rewards from his hard work that he did with the team.
"Last year was a waste of three-quarters of the season because they had a fundamental fault with the back and with the one bike rule he didn't find it out until the Showdown. Once they built the brand new bike he put it on the podium so they are looking good.”
After returning from MotoGP to BSB for the 2015 season, Michael notched up all of his rostrum results (four in total) during the Showdown rounds including his only win of the year in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch.
Despite the lengthy winter Eugene is confident his brother can maintain his momentum into the start of 2016, which begins this weekend at Silverstone, thanks to his continuity by remaining on the BMW S1000RR for a second season.
“It is one of best opportunity since he moved from Swan Yamaha to Honda [in 2012] and when you don't have that continuity with a team or a bike you can't really fight for a championship so this is his best shot,” he said. “There is strong competition now as Leon Haslam has come back on the Kawasaki and we don't know how Shakey will be on the Ducati so it will be good.”
Eugene also believes his older brother needs to maximise any potential edge on his rivals over the early rounds as they get up to speed with new machinery, singling out four-time BSB champion Shane Byrne whose PBM team has switched to Ducati.
“What Josh Brookes did last year was pretty impressive because nobody could take it to Shakey because he was always at the same tracks with the same bike, same team and so hard to beat. Michael has got that now and Shakey has lost that so he has a good shot.”