Eugene Laverty is to get his chance to compete on the World Superbike stage after being confirmed by Yamaha to replace the injured Fabien Foret in their World Supersport team at Donington Park.
With the team using the opportunity to evaluate different riders on the two-time winning bike while Foret is out of action, Laverty will replace BSB contender Karl Harris, who ran a strong fifth at Brands Hatch before retiring.
The Irishman, who regularly competes in the MotoGP 250cc class, comes to the weekend with a substantial amount of experience on Supersport machinery having finished third in the British Championship in 2006.
However, Laverty's MotoGP foray has not delivered the results he was hoping for and as the 22-year-old continues to be stymied by uncompetitive machinery, this weekend could act as a prompt for him to make a switch to either the World Supersport or Superbike Championship in 2009.
Naturally, Laverty is delighted to get the chance to compete with one of the best teams in the World Supersport field on his debut and is eager to use this opportunity to improve his stock ahead of next season.
“I'm really excited at the chance to ride a competitive Supersport machine,” he said. “Two years of riding underpowered bikes has led to two difficult seasons for me.
“For Yamaha to pick me up and offer this opportunity is fantastic, I'm over the moon! I can't wait to get to Donington and start working with the team to set up and get out on track”
Interestingly, while Yamaha team manager Wilco Zeelenberg was impressed with Harris' performance on the bike at Brands Hatch, he points out that his additional weight would probably work against him at a circuit like Donington Park. As such, lightweight Laverty was a natural choice.
“We were impressed with Karl Harris' performance on the bike at Brands, it confirms for us that our bike is competitive even when we have someone not familiar with it. Karl rode well, however whilst Fabien is recovering this is a good opportunity for us to trial different riders.