WSBK star Eugene Laverty has been officially confirmed as an Aspar rider for the 2015 MotoGP season.

The Irishman, 28, will race the upgraded Open class Honda, which is to receive this year's title-winning Honda RC213V engine. The bike will continue to run the standard ECU, but benefit from fuel, engine, testing and tyre concessions.

Laverty has raced in World Superbike since 2011 with Yamaha, Aprilia and Suzuki, winning 13 races and finishing as last year's title runner-up. He was announced as moving to MotoGP by his current Crescent Suzuki team on September 16, but it is only now that Aspar have issued an official statement.

"Eugene Laverty is a rider we were already in contact with last year, we tried to sign him then and even though we didn't manage it at the time he is a rider we have been interested in for a long time," said team principal Jorge Martinez 'Aspar'.

"I think he is a rider with great potential, he has produced some incredible races in Supersport and Superbikes, and he has a lot of wins on his record with a lot of different manufacturers, which says a lot about his capacity to adapt.

"Maybe he hasn't had the luck that you always need to win a world title but I am sure that he will be giving 100% to the Drive M7 Aspar Team. I am sure he will continue to develop as a rider and he can bring a lot to this team. He is ready to make the step to MotoGP.

"Next year we will have a new, more competitive Honda, and I have a lot of hope invested in our MotoGP project. I am sure we will achieve great results together."

It is assumed that Laverty is replacing former 250cc world champion Hiroshi Aoyama, the healing Nicky Hayden having a contract in place for next season. However the Aspar statement failed to mention Laverty's team-mate.

Aoyama is 14th in the world championship but the second best Open Honda rider, after Scott Redding, scoring points in all but one race. Aoyama is the only Japanese rider on the grid.

Loris Baz was initially expected to get the Aspar ride, but the team subsequently backed away from an agreement, citing the Frenchman's height (6'3"). Baz is now tipped to get the remaining seat at Forward Yamaha.

Eugene's brother Michael has spent the last two seasons racing in MotoGP for PBM, but it is unlikely that both will be on the same grid in 2015. PBM is focusing all its efforts on BSB next year, with Michael currently weighing up competitive options in the British and World Superbike Championships.

Eugene previously raced privateer machinery in the 250cc grand prix class but left midway through 2008 to revive his career in World Supersport, where he won twelve races and was a double title runner-up. Such success cleared the way for the move to WSBK, with Yamaha, in 2011.



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