Fresh from concluding his final World Superbike season, Eugene Laverty is just days away from his debut with the Aspar Honda team at the Valencia MotoGP test.

Here Laverty looks back on his time in WSS and WSBK, then ahead to MotoGP...
It was a difficult end to the season with Suzuki in Qatar, what have been the biggest issues for you this year?

Eugene Laverty:
Unfortunately the electronics have been a big part of what's gone on this year and there are some questions that are just left unanswered with the electronics. I think that for this [Crescent] team to move forward they need to change to a different electronics manufacturer because it's been the story of the year unfortunately.

We missed out on so much track time here after starting the weekend so well and then in the race the crash happened. We'll have to look into that because I think that there was a problem because the rear wheel doesn't lock like it did today. I'm left finishing the season puzzled, as we often have been this year.
Are you glad to just finish the year and now be able to look forward to next year?

Eugene Laverty:
It's been a tough year but I wanted to finish the season strong and after starting the weekend strong I thought that our pace in FP2 was podium pace in the race. We had good pace then but we didn't have the same bike for the rest of the weekend and that's been the biggest problem this year. We've had so many unanswered questions, why couldn't we get the same bike that I was able to ride from FP2 again this weekend? We had the pace for podiums but that's been the story of the year. It just never adds up.
Overall looking at the year with the team how do you look back on 2014?

Eugene Laverty:
I've definitely enjoyed working with the boys and it's a good team where everybody gives everything. The team are a great bunch and I still believe that there's life in this bike but the way it's being run with these electronics and some other things that I've not been happy with all year, the weight distribution is in the wrong place, all these things need to be addressed if they can move forward for next year. With Alex [Lowes] on the bike next year, if these problems are addressed, he can show what this bike is capable of because it shouldn't be finishing 10th and 11th in the championship for sure.
It must be good though to finally be able to focus solely on the Valencia test and moving into MotoGP for 2015 now.

Eugene Laverty:
It's hard to do that right now because I've just finished the race in the gravel trap so I'd say in the next few days I'll start to get ready for the Valencia test and get ready for the next challenge. Finishing this season off with a crash isn't ideal.
When you look at the last five years since you came into the Superbike paddock do you feel that there's unfinished business here? In 2009 and 2010 you were runner-up in Supersport and then obviously last year Tom piped you to the Superbike title.

Eugene Laverty:
Yeah definitely because out of those three times, 2010 was the one that stands out as being my championship given the amount of races that we won and how strong we were that season. We missed out on that championship to Kenan [Sofuoglu]. The other times when I was battling Tom [Sykes] and Cal [Crutchlow] we were both winning races and the title was going back and forth, but the one in 2010 was tough to take because but for mechanical breakdowns we could have been champion. So of course there's unfinished business there because winning that first world title is still the aim.
And on the Superbike do you feel the same? Last year you had a lot of mechanical failures and some crashes, but were still in with a shot at the last round but given the amount of races that you won did it feel like one that got away?

Eugene Laverty:
Yeah it was, but because Tom was so strong as well one of us had to miss out and unfortunately it was me. It was a great season and we came strong in the end, I think for the last nine races we were on the podium, but before that there was a stage of the season starting with mechanical failures and problems. Having blown a couple of engines and had some electronic problems I was trying desperately to gather up the points and I had some crashes in mid-season which didn't help but we got the momentum at the end but it was too little too late.
For next year you'll be going back into the GP paddock. When you look at the two years that you were racing in 250s on bad machinery, how important was it to get onto a competitive bike rather than just make up the numbers in MotoGP?

Eugene Laverty:
I really wanted to get into MotoGP because I've been waiting for many years. There was many times when I had the opportunity to go there in the last few years but none of them were the right option. Of course this has been my worst season in a long time but the opportunity was there to go to MotoGP. I had to work hard to get that ride, I was at three GPs in a row and every day I was speaking to different teams and people trying to open doors.

When this opportunity came up I thought that it was the one that would allow me to show what I was capable of and what WSBK riders in general are capable of in MotoGP. That's something that we don't understand, the difference between the two paddocks. Pace wise we know what we can do here in SBK, but it'll be nice to see how we stack up in MotoGP.
Have you been able to get much of an insight from Michael about what to expect in MotoGP and what the pace is like there?

Eugene Laverty:
Michael's been riding hard for two years and when you look at the lap times he's been a couple of seconds off and most of that has been lost on the straights, so his advice has been very important and especially with the Bridgestone tyres. He's told me some things to be wary of, but that with some other things it's been exaggerated as is often the case. It's nice to have someone like that who's been there for two years. He's paved the way for me for most of my career, even in the British championship, so I'll always take his advice on board.
I take it that having John (brother) with you has been similarly important over the last few years? Being able to talk to guys that have challenged for championships and won races must be an advantage?

Eugene Laverty:
You definitely need to have a good team around you to fight for a title, that's when it's really important. It's ok if you're coming relaxed and taking things day by day but if you're fighting for a championship you need every to be right. That's where having John here has been a help for the last two seasons. I've improved a lot as a rider and because we're going to the same tracks every year it helps to have a rider of John's experience trackside to notice what I need to improve on.
Next year you'll have a couple of new circuits to learn, are you looking forward to riding any of them in particular?

Eugene Laverty:
Austin looks like a hell of a circuit but I haven't really thought too much into it. It looks spectacular but I've not had a good look at it yet. Thankfully in WSBK we race at a lot of the same circuits so I won't have to learn too many.
Have you set any targets for the winter tests or is it just a case of getting an understanding of the bike?

Eugene Laverty:
I just want to get out there and see what I'm capable of doing. The good thing is that I'll be able to overlay the data with the other Honda guys and understand what I'm doing right and wrong.

So even if this test is only on the old bike [RCV1000R rather than next year's RC213V-RS] and we'll lose out on power I'll still be able to compare myself to the other Open riders. Riding on track with the other guys will show me what I need to work on but I can't really set any goals for the tests.

I'll just look to show what I'm capable of doing and hopefully in the races I'll be fighting for the Open victories.
You're taking your crew chief, Phil Marron, across with you will you take anyone else?

Eugene Laverty:
Phil will come but that's it for now. The priority for me was to get onto a good bike so I had to go all out for getting that so I wasn't able to specify this or that. This season was tough and I felt that the machinery didn't allow me to show what I was capable of so I had to get back onto a good bike.
You talk about getting onto a competitive bike for next year. The other options that you had in MotoGP was with Forward Yamaha and Pramac Ducati, how close did you come to a deal with either of those teams?

Eugene Laverty:
With Pramac it was close, even the year before the deal was nearly done. I've got a great link with Ducati and Gigi. Forward Yamaha was always in discussions but talks never really moved forward with them. So when it came down to it Aspar was the one that I really wanted and I pushed strongly for it.
That was the one that you pushed for last year as well when it looked like Gigi Dall'Igna was onboard with Aprilia?

Eugene Laverty:
Yeah and Gigi was pushing for me as well because Melandri was coming to replace me in the Aprilia superbike team. That was the agreement that I would go to MotoGP with Aprilia but that all fell through in the end unfortunately. I'd spoken to Aspar at that time and we kept in touch so in the end it's all turned out well.
Obviously the Pramac deal for last year you got close to a deal but they wouldn't tell you that all their bikes were going to be in Open class...

Eugene Laverty:
Yeah, there was a not unknowns there and we didn't know where we'd stack up. There was going to be Open Yamahas, Hondas and Ducatis and the way that I was looking at it was that Ducati were already struggling with their Factory bike, so on the Open bike they'd be really up against it. You can never know what's going to happen and you have to take risks to progress but they have to be calculated risks.
Back to next year, yourself and Michael are well known for being intelligent, methodical riders that can work through a development programme. How difficult do you think it will be to jump onto a GP bike after what you've been used to here and did the Suzuki MotoGP tests help you get an understanding of what to expect?

Eugene Laverty:
The Suzuki tests helped me to realise that it was just a motorbike with two wheels and an engine. There was a lot of worry before getting onto the bike and it wasn't ideal because we had to go to a new track in Japan for it. So I had to learn a new bike, new tyres, a new track, do it all in 40 degree heat and have only three hours to do it all!

In those three hours to be able to do the lap times that we did was incredible and how fast we were compared to their test rider, who set the pole at Suzuka so he's no slouch, that made me realise that the bikes suited me and that it's just motorbike and a case of figuring out the fastest way for that tyre and bike to go around a track.

It's not rocket science but even when you look at a GP rider coming here they have to work out the best way to get the best out of the Pirelli tyres. It's the same going to GP you have to work out the way to get the best out of the tyres and bike.

It's all just motorbike racing at the end of the day!



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