Eugene Laverty will make a full-time switch to the World Supersport Championship in 2009 after concluding a deal with the Parkalgar Honda team.
Laverty, a former British Supersport frontrunner, has spent the last two seasons struggling with dated machinery in 250GP racing, but will now turn his attentions to WSS next year after joining forces with the Anglo-Portuguese team.
The Northern Irishman comes to Parkalgar with the outstanding reference of a third place finish on only his second WSS outing earlier this season at Vallelunga whilst deputising for the injured Fabien Foret at Yamaha.
However, with the factory backed team choosing Foret and Cal Crutchlow for 2009, Laverty will instead get his chance with the Simon Buckmaster led outfit, who recorded four podiums this year courtesy of the late Craig Jones.
Laverty is delighted with the deal, which he hopes will revive a reputation hurt by his determined, but ultimately disappointing, foray into grand prix racing.
“Racing for Parkalgar Honda is a great opportunity for me,” he said. “The Parkalgar Honda team is top notch and that has been proved race after race in the World Supersport Championship this year.
“It prepares a very fast and competitive motorcycle and I can't wait to be racing it. A big plus with Parkalgar Honda is the team is English-based, which means we all speak the same language and come from the same set of islands.
Having already shown his capabilities on a Supersport machine this season, Laverty is confident a winter of testing will see him in with a shout of the title come 2009.
“I think I will be able to compete for the top three in the World Championship – but more than that I am racing to challenge for top honours – exactly the same targets as Parkalgar Honda.