Motoette -in forward motion

Eugene Laverty Interview~ Yamaha’s WSBK Extraordinaire

Eugene Laverty~Donington Park

As one of the peerless additions to the recently reinvented WSBK Yamaha team, Eugene Laverty is gradually finding his comfort zone on his R1. New to the WSBK series with a good inaugural start at Australia’s Phillip Island and two crashes at England’s Donington Park, the Irish rider is choosing to chalk it up to experience and looks to the future for a successful season.

Girlracer has an in-depth look into Eugene Laverty with his transition from Supersport to Superbike and what he hopes to achieve in the progression of his thriving racing career.

 

Girlracer– After a challenging UK debut race as a WSBK racer at Donington Park, how are you feeling since, physically and mentally?

Eugene Laverty- Starting to feel a lot better. The week after Donington wasn’t so good, after having a concussion, I felt like I hadn’t slept in a year. But I’ve had a lot of Physical therapy and I’m starting to feel like myself again. I didn’t break any bones fortunately, but the concussion was the main thing.

Girlracer– I had read that tyre temperature problems were part to blame for the unsuccessful weekend?

Eugene Laverty- Yes, we found out after the weekend and learned an important lesson. Friday was good, we placed 4th  and  was thinking about a race win for Sunday. But once the temperature dropped things went disastrous and we couldn’t put our finger on it.

But we have learned from this and there are things we can do to put heat into the tyres, we just didn’t realize it at the time.

We don’t expect there to be a problem with Assen. There was almost frost on the ground on Sunday morning at Donington, that’s how cold it was! We are just going to strip back to how we were on Friday, because Saturday and Sunday was not a true reflection of where we are right now.

Girlracer– What has the transition been like going from WSS for the last 2 years to WSBK?

Eugene Laverty`- Testing was great and I surprised myself. But, with the two races, I knew it was going to take a little time adjusting, getting used to the different time table and the different team. It hasn’t been helped with some bad luck. I know and the team knows where my true potential is and I’m excited about it. I don’t want to get impatient, because I know it’s only going to be a short time until we can show our true capabilities.

Girlracer- Is it true that you had an opportunity to race in the WSBK division back in 2008?

Eugene Laverty– That was an opportunity for just one race. At the time I was racing for Aprilia in the 250ccGP and I guess I was looking away because it really wasn’t going anywhere. I spoke to Paul Bird of Motorsport Honda about his Superbike and was also thinking about Yamaha. Once Fabien Foret was injured I got the opportunity for a wild card position in the World Supersport Championship, which I thought was a better fit and less of a jump. It was a good choice because I finished on the podium that year!

Girlracer– Can you describe the differences between riding a Supersport (600cc) and your current Superbike (1000cc)?

Eugene Laverty- The main difference is the speed. The step up from 125cc, 250cc and then to 600cc was a big speed difference, but the 600cc was more controllable. Moving to Superbike, the speed and the power of those bikes is just incredible. I don’t think the brain can ever adjust to that speed; there is so much power there its unnatural! It’s an incredible feeling at the same time because you are really in control. With Supersport you can be aggressive and fight the bike for control, but with Superbikes if you do, it will come back and bite you. You have to ride in the best way; I think that’s why the best riders truly come to the floor when they take on the bigger bikes.

Girlracer– With only 2 years in Supersport, do you have any aspirations to move up into the premier class of MotoGP in the near future?

Eugene Laverty– I would like to move to MotoGP, it’s all part of the plan. I wasn’t sure whether to move to Moto2 or go with WSBK for this season, but in the end I opted to go with Superbike because it was a stepping stone. To go from WSBK with Yamaha to MotoGP, it’s all part of the plan.

Girlracer– Would you say there is a difference in how a rider performs on the track depending on what their racing background is? For example; your teammate, Marco Melandri is coming back to Superbike from MotoGP. Do you feel there is any advantage?

Eugene Laverty– I would say yes. In the last few seasons, the Superbike is so close to MotoGP, the two bikes are so technical now. Looking back even 5 years ago, Superbikes were a lot more like road bikes, now they are proper racing machines. Superbikes are almost GP level; the jump from Superbike was a bit of a problem before with riders, such as Neil Hodgson. Now it’s more like a half of stepping stone, riders like Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies have been fast immediately making the transition easily.

Girlracer– In your estimation, what do you think enables a rider to become a World Champion?

Eugene Laverty– It’s the total package. No matter what the Championship, you gotta be winning and if you are a popular rider, then you’re also marketable. In the beginning, choosing what team you want to ride for is important, because it doesn’t matter how good the rider is, if you’re riding a donkey, you ain’t gonna win!

Unfortunately, racing is a cut throat world, if you’re not winning races then nobody’s going to recognize you.

I think the cream will always rise to the top; this sport is all about getting opportunities and the right breaks, but to do that you have to be smart. Choosing your paths correctly, a good rider will always figure out the best way to ride a bike. If you are a quality rider, you pick these things up; the most important thing is to get the break.

Girlracer– Recently you had to give up your racing number 50 that you have had since 2002. Are you superstitious about having to go from 50 to 58?

Eugene Laverty– No, I wasn’t, but now that you mentioned it, I haven’t had such a good time [laughing]! Actually I made it 58 so it looked like the number 50. Even when I sign autographs, I still sign it with the number 50 and people look at me confused. Right now you can’t have two number 50’s, but I plan on going back to it pretty soon….or #1 would be nice as well!

Girlracer– You have your very own iPhone app, the first motorcycle racer to have one. How is it doing?

Eugene Laverty- I was very surprised by the feed back on it, especially within the first 24 hours. I didn’t want an app that was a short cut to my Web site, because a lot of people do that and it’s not interesting. The guys made it interactive and the fans can take a picture and post them and they can even take a picture with me and post it while at the track. Its fun and I find myself flipping through the photos!

Girlracer- Next Sunday, you will be racing at Assen. How is the feeling in the paddock?

Eugene Laverty– I’ve been to Assen twice and I’ve won both times, so it’s pretty positive. It should be a strong race for us. I know our pace is there, it just didn’t go our way for one reason or another at Donington. I’m hoping at Assen we get the results we deserve and aim for the podium this round!

Cheers Eugene and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

 Look for Eugene’s (temporary) #58 this Sunday, April 17th at Netherland’s Assen TT Circuit for more racing excitement!

For more details on the full provisional calendar, racing results and stats, go to Worldsbk.com

On a personal level, check out Eugene’s Website http://eugenelaverty.com/ and his very own iPhone app, so you can take a snap shot; keep up to date on race results, news, blogs and Yamaha press releases. All for just £1.19

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April 11, 2011 - Posted by | Assen, Ben Spies, donington Park, Eugene Laverty, girlracer, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, phillip Island, superbike, supersport, WSBK, Yamaha

1 Comment »

  1. Nice one. Go Eugene!!!

    Comment by adam | April 11, 2011 | Reply


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