28 October 2014
MotoGP: Rivals, manager, brother talk Laverty MotoGP move
Cal Crutchlow, Gino Borsoi and Michael Laverty give their views on the impending arrival of Eugene Laverty to MotoGP from WSBK in 2015.
With the final round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship looming, attention is already beginning to turn towards 2015 and the annual end-of-season test, which will see a number of riders making their debut with various teams.
Amongst these riders will be Eugene Laverty, who will make the long-awaited move into MotoGP from the World Superbike Championship with 2015 with Aspar Honda, with Valencia setting the scene for his first outing on the Open class bike.
Though the move from Superbikes to MotoGP has been a difficult transition for some, Cal Crutchlow – who was the last rider to make the direct switch from WSBK to MotoGP in 2011 – is keen to see what Laverty can do on the bike.
"I'm pleased that Eugene will come in because it's good to see a couple of guys coming in from World Superbikes," said the Ducati rider. "There's a lot of the guys there that deserve it but they just never took the chance or the risk to come here so it's good to see two of them finally do that. I think that he'll do well because he's got a good riding style for a MotoGP bike.
"I don't know how he'll get on but I've ridden with him for many years and he seems a fast learner. I'm sure that he'll aim to be the top production Honda and we know that bike won't be too far off the Factory bike that they have now, without the seamless gearbox, and the electronics of the Open bikes are good enough because Espargaro is able to compete every race with the Tech3 bikes and the Ducati's. So I believe that he'll do a good job."
Laverty's move to MotoGP will see him team up with Nicky Hayden at the Aspar squad with the improved RCV213s and the team's MotoGP manager, Gino Borsoi, is looking forward to getting Laverty onto his bike and starting his acclimation to the premier class
"For sure he'll come to Valencia for the full three day test and we'll have three days for him to get his first ride on the bike," said Borsoi. "We won't expect anything special at the first test so he must get experience of the tyres and the carbon brakes because these are the biggest differences between Superbikes and MotoGP. After that we'll have two tests in February in Malaysia and after that we'll understand better what he needs and what he likes on the bike."
The team came close to signing Laverty last year, but the late switch from Aprilia to Ducati for Gigi Dall'igna meant that Laverty ultimately elected to stay in World Superbikes and move to Suzuki. That decision left the Irishman on a relatively uncompetitive bike this year and unable to replicate his form in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Tom Sykes on an Aprilia.
For Borsoi, however, this season's performances, which still included a victory at Philip Island and a podium at Sepang, were not detrimental to his chances of landing a MotoGP ride.
"We already tried to get Eugene last season but at the end it wasn't possible so we tried again this season for the next one and we signed the deal. We're happy with that because we think that he has the potential to do a really good job because he was one of the best riders in Superbikes, especially when he rode for Aprilia, so from our point of view he's a good rider with talent and experience so he's good for us."
With Hayden confirmed for 2015, Borsoi says having two competitive and motivated riders will be key to driving them forward:
"Of course when you have a good team-mate everything becomes more difficult but the overall level of the team is better because the riders fight each other with the same materials and they fight each other," said Borsoi. "This type of fighting helps the team to get better results. This season we had a really good year from Aoyama and his level has been good but we think that with a new bike and two good riders we'll have a good chance to get good results and improve on this season."
With Eugene coming in, his brother Michael is otherwise on the way out of MotoGP for next season after two years with the PBM team. However, having also made the move from Superbikes to GP machinery, Michael Laverty believes the transition to prototype machinery will not hinder his brother.
"I think that Eugene will do well here because I think that the Honda chassis and the Bridgestone tyre will suit his riding tyre," commented Michael. "He's also a thinking rider and very methodical so he'll come here with an open mind and he should learn quite quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does on a competitive bike. I don't think that coming the Superbike route is as big a disadvantage as many believe because you get a lot of electronic knowledge and chassis knowledge that will stand you in good stead and Eugene is quite an adaptable rider with his riding style. He already hangs off the bike Moto2 style which seems to be the way to work the Bridgestone tyres."
When asked for his thoughts on Eugene making the move to ride in MotoGP and how it compared to when he came into the class last year Laverty admitted that he is somewhat jealous of his brother being able to come into the class with a much more competitive bike and one that will allow him to show his speed and ability to a much greater degree than the situation that he faced in the class.
"It's something that I'm jealous of actually because he's getting to come here on a competitive machine,” he joked. “I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do. The customer Honda is a very good chassis and the base package at the moment just lacks power but it looks like they'll get that next year with the new engine. So that should be something that him and Nicky can top ten with next year.
"It's always a gamble and a lot of the Superbike riders can get comfortable where they are but Eugene has taken a bit of a risk from being in Superbikes where he had good solid contracts to come here so he's dedicated to doing it and I think that will all pay off for him next year. Fingers crossed he'll be successful next year and I believe that he will be. I think that there's a few Superbike riders that could make the jump, riders like Johnny Rea, but Eugene decided to go for it."
Laverty will make his final WSBK appearance with Suzuki at this weekend's Qatar finale
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