27 May 2014
Eugene Laverty on Suzuki MotoGP test: This is my chance
Eugene Laverty heads to Japan to trial Suzuki's MotoGP bike as he looks to impress enough to be considered for a full-time ride in 2015.
Eugene Laverty says he is treating his upcoming test with Suzuki as a prime opportunity to audition for a full-time seat with the manufacturer in the MotoGP World Championship next season.
Laverty, who was offered a 2014 ride with Pramac Ducati in MotoGP before putting pen to paper with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki in WSBK, heads to Japan this week to trial Suzuki's new inline four-cylinder grand prix machine for the first time at the Okayama circuit. He will then join official development rider Randy de Puniet in Phillip Island for a further test.
Though billed as a reward for claiming a WSBK win on his debut for Suzuki at Phillip Island earlier this year, Laverty is under no illusions that the test is an excellent opportunity to pitch for a full-time ride with the manufacturer, which is returning to MotoGP as a full-factory effort in 2015 after an absence of three years.
With this in mind, Laverty says he has been 'doing his homework' in an effort impress the team with more than simply his on-track performance.
“I am looking forward to it,” he told Crash.net. “In the last week I have been doing a lot of homework. I was preparing for Donington, but at the same time I have had to look up Okayama, which is a new circuit for me. Then there is Phillip Island which I know well, but I still have quite a bit of studying to do!
“There is no point and going there to say I am just going to ride around and enjoy the experience, because it is an opportunity. It is up to me to impress, it is my chance. It will be tough, but at Okayama – if the weather is good – I will get four hours on the bike to get set-up and comfortable.”
With Suzuki's impending return beginning to create waves in the rider market - most notably rumours of an approach to Dani Pedrosa - de Puniet is also clearly seeking a full-time race deal for 2015. Though Laverty is pleased to be testing at a circuit as favourable as Phillip Island, he expects the rider he will be measured against to be strong too.
“At Phillip Island I have a day and a half, with Randy getting a day and a half. It is a good circuit for me, but the guy whose lap times I will be measured against, that was his strongest track last year, so he is no slouch around there either.
“Doing it in June means the wind chill could be freezing, so a first time on Bridgestone's will be a baptism of fire, so we will see, it is going to be interesting.”
Reflecting on the decision to turn down a ride with Pramac Ducati in MotoGP - prior to the revised rules that have allowed Ducati to benefit from the Open class concessions -, Laverty is comfortable that he made the right choice with the knowledge he had at the time.
“It's a tough question because I don't like to look back in hindsight with new knowledge. Would I have done things differently with the knowledge I had at the time? I wouldn't… The only time I look back in hindsight is if I made a bad decision with the knowledge I had, which I don't think I did. I didn't know all four bikes will be going to the Open category, so for me it was a no brainer.”
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