With the #50 already taken by Sylvain Guintoli, Eugene Laverty has chosen a new racing number for his debut season in the World Superbike Championship.

Laverty, runner-up in the 2009 and 2010 World Supersport Championship, has used the #50 for the past nine years, but will race with the #58 on his factory Yamaha in 2011.

"I don't have an emotional attachment to [the #50], but I do feel it has been very significant in my career so far, and for that reason I am a bit sad to be parting with it," he admitted.

"I don't have a choice, but I did have a choice in choosing my new number, 58. I like it because it's probably the nearest you can get to 50, and I certainly wouldn't have deviated away from the number five.

"I see it as the end of this particular era but I hope that 58 will become just as well-known by my performance on the World Superbike stage with the official Yamaha team in 2011."

Nevertheless, Laverty is planning to switch back to the #50 when it becomes available.

"I'm sure I'll go back to it when I get the opportunity. This year Sylvain has it but I'd definitely like to get it back as soon as I can. You could say I'm just giving it some time off after it has worked so hard for nine years," he joked.