Eugene Laverty believes his impressive victory during the opening round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship in Australia can act as a prelude towards a push towards the new title.
Laverty notched up a 13th career WSBK win with a stellar charge to victory during the first race of the weekend at Phillip Island, the 2013 WSBK runner-up confirming the pace the much-revised Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 had shown during testing.
Indeed, though Laverty was always optimistic coming into the 2014 season, his win still marked a first success for Suzuki since 2010. Nonetheless, Laverty now feels he has a bike capable of challenging for the overall title – a feat the firm hasn't managed in almost a decade.
"Following my debut test I knew that the GSX-R had potential but there was still a lot of work to do,” he told the WSBK website. “The progress that the team made during December and January was phenomenal."
"It really did confirm that we are ready to fight for the title this year. We'd been strong in recent tests but nobody wanted to get too carried away because testing is one thing and racing is another. But in this case we managed to tick both boxes!"
Reflecting on the technical issue that scuppered an opportunity to make it a double win in Australia, Laverty is satisfied it won't be a recurring problem.
"We're quite certain that this exact problem won't happen again as it was such a small issue. Unfortunately, it was very costly as we lost out on a potential twenty-five points but better now than the end of the season."