Aprilia star Eugene Laverty says is doesn't feeling under any additional pressure to perform in 2013 after taking over as the Italian team's number one.
The Northern Irishman assumes the role as lead rider in the factory outfit following the retirement of World Superbike champion Max Biaggi
Laverty, who is joined at Aprilia by Sylvain Guintoli, has taken it all in his stride as he sets himself a target of mounting a consistent challenge for the world title.
“In terms of expectations of my performance I don't feel any more pressure because I know exactly what I want to achieve,” he said.
“But there's a little bit more pressure because I've got to learn the lingo and be more professional on that side of things with Max gone.
“It was good having Max at my side because he spoke to the Italians, but now that I'm the number one guy I need to be more interactive in that way,” he added in the Belfast News Letter
Laverty revealed that although his personal contact with Biaggi was limited, the pair “had no quarrels” and he reaffirmed his admiration for the veteran Italian's achievements in the sport.
“I never really bothered much with Max personally and he's a fairly private character. We just did our own thing but we didn't have any quarrels.
“I've a lot of respect for him for the world championships he has won.
“Aprilia is truly the only real factory World Superbike team left and I want that to continue and with Max winning the title that has naturally secured that for next season.”