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Laverty embraces role as Aprilia's main man
9 January 2013
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 last year.
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.”
Laverty endured a tough start to 2012 following a heavy fall at Phillip Island and also had to overcome an electrical issue on his RSV4, which dogged the former World Supersport Championship runner-up for three rounds.
He began to make progress in the second part of the season and won his maiden race in Aprilia colours at Portimao in Portugal during a strong finish to the year.
After finishing sixth overall in the championship, Laverty topped the times at the final test prior to the winter ban to sign off on a high.