Parkalgar Honda's 2009 World Supersport signing Eugene Laverty has been staying busy during the off season with training, weddings and a new found passion for trials riding.
The Ulsterman, who spent much of 2008 riding uncompetitive grand prix machinery before snatching a podium from two replacement rides as a Yamaha WSS rider, enjoyed a competitive debut test with his 2009 team at Portimao last month, where he soon settled into his new surroundings and his CBR600RR.
"The test finished well," he said. "It was difficult at the start as the bike was not to my set-up. We worked on that and got it how I wanted it. That is when I really started to enjoy myself.”
Having maintained his fitness throughout the season, Laverty decided to take a brief break from the gym but is now hitting it hard again.
"Most of my training is cycling based and because I'm in Supersport I do some upper body strength training," he revealed. "In the winter my routine is different as I can't get out and cycle on the roads so I've been indoors doing about 200km - it's not very exciting but it has to be done."
Eugene also attended his brother John's wedding recently where he and his twin brother Eamonn were Groomsmen. Older brother Michael, who raced alongside John this year in BSB, was Best Man, so it was very much a racing affair.
"It was a really good day, we had fun. John is the first of my brothers to get married so it was a very special occasion," said Eugene.
With the festive season approaching Laverty will be returning to Toomebridge in Northern Ireland for a big family Christmas. "I've spent the last two years in England with my girlfriend Pippa so it will be nice to see everyone and see how things have changed," he said.
Of course motorcycles have to be involved at some point over the Christmas holiday and Laverty is planning on taking part in a trials event on Boxing Day.
"I did my first trial a couple of weekends ago and I ended up going over the handle bars and landing in a river - that is how I came down with the cold," he said. "I started trials riding last winter but more of us have bikes now. I go out with [former MotoGP rider] Jeremy McWilliams, and [Motocross star] Gordon Crockard, plus Johnny Rea has just bought a trials bike. Its good craic, there isn't much skill or finesse but we have good fun."
The hard work will start again in January with the Parkalgar Honda team testing in Spain before continuing to Portugal for the official World Superbike test at the Parkalgar circuit.