During an exclusive interview with Crash.net
, Eugene Laverty confirmed that he is scheduled to test Suzuki's MotoGP machine at the end of May and start of June.
Laverty joined the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki WSBK outfit for this year and, following his victorious start at Phillip Island, it became clear that he would ride the new MotoGP bike at some stage.
The tests will be in Japan and then Phillip Island, home of the Australian MotoGP - the latter taking place on Laverty's birthday, the 3rd of June.
“We will be riding the MotoGP bike at the end of May and start of June at a couple of different test tracks,” he said. “I look forward to riding it. They definitely had to work to get the hardware working. But they're going in the right direction, it's clear they want to race as they're going through that transition from their own hardware to the Magneti Marelli [ECU system].”
Laverty travelled to a pre-season MotoGP test at Sepang to meet the Suzuki team and see the bike on track. He admitted he was struck by the effort going into the project, where test riders Randy de Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki were joined by All Japan Superbike rider Takuya Tsuda to help accelerate electronics development.
“They're a really good bunch of boys, I got a good feeling from them when I visited them in Sepang,” Laverty said. “I got to meet the project leader, [Satoru] Terada-san, in Malaysia. It was really nice to see how enthusiastic he was about me riding the bike too.”
The Northern Irishman also said he had turned down the opportunity to test the bike sooner, believing it would have had a negative impact on his current World Superbike campaign.
According to Laverty an opportunity to ride the bike in mid-May at Motegi, venue for the Japanese MotoGP, arose but the dates were too close to the fifth round of the World Superbike series in England.
“I had been looking forward to riding the bike so much, but I turned down my first test on the bike because it was too close to [the] Donington World Superbike [meeting],” said Laverty. “To ride it in the sunshine at Motegi was probably the ideal opportunity but I had to turn it down as I need to focus on the real job at hand here and not let anything else influence that.”
Laverty played down expectations, when asked whether he is expected to reach any targets during the two tests.
“If it had been at Motegi there would be as it's clear where they're good and it's a track they race at. One is a track they don't, in Japan, and the other is going to be really cold in Phillip Island. I like Phillip Island, it's just a pity the weather's going to be sh*t! The test is on my birthday so that's a nice present.”
With Suzuki preparing for its 2015 grand prix return, Laverty was then asked if he foresaw himself moving to the MotoGP class in the near future. His answer give little away: “If I get the opportunity to go then great, but I don't want to go and just take part. I want to be there and be competitive.”
Eugene's brother Michael is currently starting his second season in MotoGP with PBM.
The Suzuki MotoGP team have been testing in Austin, Texas this week, when 1993 wold champion Kevin Schwantz also rode the inline four-cylinder bike.