10 September 2015
MotoGP Misano: Laverty ‘anxious’ as Aspar’s 2016 plans remain unclear
“It's often forgotten that I have a two-year contract. I trust in this team [but] it's the last month, where there has been no progress, which has been the worry.”
Eugene Laverty has admitted to feeling anxious, as talks regarding Aspar Honda's plans for 2016 have stalled in the past month.
As team-mate Nicky Hayden's contract comes to an end at the close of this year, Laverty is currently in the first of a two-year deal.
However, the Aspar outfit is unsure as to whether it can run two riders in 2016 as it searches for the required sponsorship.
Several names, including Jack Miller and Tito Rabat, have subsequently been touted to race in its colours, while the team have been unable to confirm its plans to the Northern Irishman.
Speaking to Crash.net on the Thursday before the Grand Prix of San Marino, Laverty admitted the uncertainty surrounding his future has been impossible to ignore but was nonetheless keen to underline his contractual situation.
“I hear a lot of things in the media and it's often forgotten that I have a two-year contract. I trust in this team. I knew the first year on an 'Open' bike was going to be difficult but the light at the end of the tunnel was an official bike in year two. I knew the 'Open' class would disappear and that's why I, not sacrificed one year, but did something that not a lot of riders would be willing to do; go and ride a mid-field bike, serve my apprenticeship.
“It has served me well to learn the bike. Ok, the tyres are going to be a bit different but it's a different style of tyre to the Superbike. Now I know a lot of the circuits and the bike and I feel like I'm ready to put that to good use in year two on a good bike. Fingers crossed we can go ahead with the original plan.”
The current predicament that Laverty finds himself in has led him to speak to teams in the World Superbike paddock in the event of Aspar's funding falling through. Yet, being under contract means he cannot commit to a team at a time when the limited number of seats on offer diminishes with each passing week.
“I've had some talks with them but things are moving very slowly and that's frustrating. In some ways it looks as though they could continue. In other ways they're not too sure. I'm in a position where if the team doesn't run in MotoGP then other seats are disappearing, most notably Superbike seats.
“That's where I've got to be looking as well in case things don't go well here. But I don't want to miss out on that opportunity, I'm not going to leave here. I'm locked in a two-year contract. I've got to talk to other Superbike teams in case nothing here materialises but I don't want to come to November and then find out we're not going to continue.
"Hopefully in Misano or Aragon we can try and make things concrete. It's all up in the air now and that's what is frustrating. I keep hearing my two-year contract is being overlooked and you can't overlook something like that. It was here last year that I agreed things and put pen to paper. You can't forget that.
“[The current situation] does make me anxious,” he admitted. “I know how important it is. The relief I felt here last year when I signed this two-year contract. I knew that I could have that learning year – not to rest on my laurels – but a year without pressure.
“You could see when things were looking rocky for the team that's when I started crashing as well. I was learning the ropes, taking my time. Around Argentina, Jerez time I hadn't crashed the bike for 22 days then suddenly when the future was in question it's natural the rider's going to push the limits too far and start crashing.
“Lately as well it's not easy to keep calm in certain situations. In Brno I crashed again. I've got to keep calm but with the doubt of next year in my head. I know how important every result is.”
Laverty went on to explain the team could be in line to receive Repsol Honda's bikes current machines for 2016, a year in which the class will revert to a standard Magneti Marelli ECU and Michelin tyres.
“I'm not really sure of the situation with the team and their plans. I'm sure they're speaking with Honda. They could be in line to get Repsol Honda's 2015 bikes. That would definitely be the tool for the job. That's what I signed up for. If the team run I run. It's a fixed two-year contract. It's not an option and that's why I came on board.”
To add to his frustrations, Aspar has yet to confirm to Laverty when a final decision will be made.
“It's just moving on. It's difficult for them as well and I can understand their position. Their plan is to continue with Honda, get some good bikes. Then in 2017 things will improve for the teams as well. They want to continue but really, right now, they don't know whether it will be one rider or two. I've got to fit in with them in some shape or form.”
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