Crash.net:
I imagine the excitement is building. In some ways does it feel that you career has been leading towards racing in the MotoGP class?

Eugene Laverty:
It does. It's not something I thought about earlier in my career but once I started to reach the British Championship the thought did cross my mind. I'd almost say the last ten years have been building towards this point. My year in 250s seemed like a step towards my dream but I never thought that I could reach the MotoGP class.

Crash.net:
How has your offseason gone?

Eugene Laverty:
It's been really good. I've had a lot more time. In World Superbikes it's not as hectic during the year, it's spread out a lot more but the offseason doesn't really exist. You've only got six weeks off the bike whereas in MotoGP it's twelve weeks. There's a lot more off time to actually rest first and then start the preseason training. Each time the resting is as important as the training. I've done a lot with bikes and some Supermoto as well.

Crash.net:
I read that you have gained eight kilos in upper body muscle since the close of 2014. Was that done with the 'Open' class Honda in mind?

Eugene Laverty:
It's something I guess I always have to be wary of. I gain and lose muscle very easily. I have to be careful with my gym work. It's almost a running joke in Alpinestars that when I go there to get my measurements taken quite often they check to see just what the measurements are. Some race weekends and I put the race suit on and I'm within the cups in the shoulders, other times I'm not. So I can go up and down like crazy. At times it can vary four or five centimetres. If I have five extra centimetres around the chest then it's probably because I've had more time to train than just gaining more. It's something I have to keep an eye on.

Crash.net:
Are you enjoying being a class rookie again as the pressure isn't directly on you to get immediate results?

Eugene Laverty:
Yeah, definitely. When I look at 2011, my first year in Superbikes, I just took it as it came. I need to find that mindset again ahead of this year. I rarely crashed and I had a lot of good races. In the past few years I've maybe worried about things a bit too much which can be a problem. Now it is nice being back in that position and I'll be taking it [2015] as a learning year, as I did in 2011.

Crash.net:
People always talk of Bridgestone tyres and how difficult they are to get accustomed to. Has that been the biggest change when adapting to the new machine?

Eugene Laverty:
Yeah, it has and that's just because they're different. There's a lot of talk about how you can struggle [to adapt] with them but I like the Bridgestone tyres. I felt quite at home on them right away and it's just a matter of adjusting my riding style and the bike set-up to get the most out of it. I was maybe guilty at first of wanting to start afresh and it got to the point where I said, 'Hang on. I know how to ride a motorbike. It can change to work with me here.' I wanted to go in open-minded and I went in too open-minded.

My times were slow in getting going. [But] My riding style works well. Already I push the front tyre harder than Nicky Hayden, I brake harder and ask more of the front tyre. He's a guy that has been on these Bridgestones for a long time so it's not limited me in that way. I think it's just the different riding style that's going to take time to get the most out of it.

Crash.net:
You found more than half a second between tests at Sepang. Where did the biggest improvement come from?

Eugene Laverty:
There was a moment when I rolled out of pit lane at the second Sepang test and my bike didn't feel alien. It felt like, 'Ok, I'm back on my bike.' At the end of the second test was when I started to adjust the bike. I realised that a lot of the things I was trying to adjust in my riding style was because the bike wasn't doing things correctly. There were a few fast corners where I kept working to try and match Nicky. In the end there was a problem with my front forks. Like I said, once we started to change things around and adjust the bike rather than being too hard on myself, that's when we started to make some progress.

Crash.net:
Were your team surprised by your knowledge and experience of the electronics package from your time in World Superbikes?

Eugene Laverty:
Perhaps, because in Superbikes the electronics are very advanced, as we know. Some of the things we had on the Yamaha R1 for example in 2011, guys didn't have in GPs until a few years later. There were a couple of things that I knew I needed, simple changes. There were a couple of problems with the bike. Instead of solving the problem I almost felt like I was having to push the solution towards them. In Sepang it went a lot more smoothly. In the first test [at Valencia] we took things slowly in that respect but I had a lot of experience already from Superbikes working on that.

Crash.net:
Phil Marron, your crew chief of a few years, has also moved to the Aspar team. Was that a vital factor in the deal, having someone there that knows your style of working?

Eugene Laverty:
It was. Phil has come with me. He isn't my crew chief within the team but it was important to have him there onboard. He speaks a lot with my Italian crew chief about certain things that I require from the bike. Phil sometimes knows what can help when it comes to solutions. It's nice for me that my crew chief is open to that as well, there's no ego within the team. My current crew chief is open to suggestions and we're all gelling well together.

Crash.net:
Does that mean you have plenty of opportunities to practice your Italian?

Eugene Laverty:
Not much within the team but, yeah, within the paddock Italian is probably the second language after English so there are a lot of opportunities there.

Crash.net:
You have a former MotoGP world champion on the opposite side of the garage. Are you measuring yourself and your progress against Nicky Hayden?

Eugene Laverty:
I think he's a very good benchmark. If I had a rookie team-mate then I might not know what he's capable of but with Nicky I know that when he was at Ducati he was racing with Dovizioso race in, race out. He's obviously won the championship before so it's nice to see that at the moment I'm matching his pace. I think people see the position and that it's lower compared to some of the other rookies that have come in. When you look at where my team-mate is, the likes of Crutchlow and Bradley [Smith] were a long way off their team-mate right from the beginning so it's nice that I've adapted quite quickly and I'm a lot closer than where the rookies have been before.

Crash.net:
The final preseason test ended strongly. Your best time was just 0.2secs slower than Hayden. Were you content with this showing?

Eugene Laverty:
That was just over one lap. I'm not getting the best out of a new tyre just yet but in terms of overall pace I'm there over a race distance. So we have to try and do well in qualifying and get the most out of that tyre. I'll keep working towards that one lap pace but that'll take time, to find the limit.

Crash.net:
What are your aims for the first round?

Eugene Laverty:
I would like to be in the points. It's difficult to say much more on where we're going to be but in terms of the 'Open' class pace we're right there. I'd like to be in the top three of the 'Open' and to score points overall. In Qatar the lap times seem to be closer than what they would be in somewhere like Sepang. Getting that one lap pace into the 1min 55s would be nice and then in the race [I'm aiming for] the 1min 56s.

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