Yamaha Signs Laverty to WSBK Team

Laverty to team with Melandri for 2011

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 10, 2010
Yamaha has signed Eugene Laverty to join Marco Melandri on its factory World Superbike team in 2011.

Laverty will ride the Yamaha Sterilgarda YZF-R1 Superbike next season after two seasons in the World Supersport class. Racing for Parkalgar Honda, Laverty finished second to current Yamaha Sterilgarda rider Cal Crutchlow in 2009, and currently trails Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Kenan Sofuoglu by 12 points in the 2010 WSS Championship, with seven wins this year in 11 races.

“We’ve been very impressed with Eugene in the World Supersport Championship,” says Laurens Klein Koerkamp, Yamaha Motor Europe racing manager. “He is a very talented racer who has shown great dedication to training, is focused on victory and we know he’s a great person to work with. We have proved with Cal Crutchlow that we have the facility to bring young riders through from World Supersport, continue to nurture and develop them in World Superbike and provide them with further opportunities in MotoGP if the situation is right. We look forward to working with Eugene and believe he has the talent to continue through with Yamaha into the future.”

Laverty has worked with Yamaha in the past, scoring a podium while subbing for the injured Fabien Foret during the 2008 WSS season. Laverty also has Grand Prix racing experience, racing in the 250cc class in 2007-2008.

“When I rode the Yamaha YZF-R6 in World Supersport in 2008 I was having a tough time in 250s, it’s nice that Yamaha brought me to the fore and are now giving me the opportunity within superbike,” says Laverty. “Ben Spies winning the championship in 2009 and Cal Crutchlow now stepping up and winning races shows the bike and team are more than capable so the rest is up to me. I think with the team support and a good testing schedule we can start the 2011 championship ready to be competitive from the first race and be on the podium as early as possible. Having a teammate like Marco Melandri is great, he has a wealth of experience to learn from so I’m going to enjoy riding with him.”

Eugene Laverty made a splash as an injury replacement for Yamaha in the 2008 WSS season, finishing third at Italy's Vallelunga circuit.

Though he is leaving his current team after the season, Laverty says he is still focused on winning the 2010 WSS title.

“It’s great to have a contract signed at this stage while still fighting for the title in the Supersport class. I desperately want to win this year before moving on,” says Laverty.

The Laverty signing also marks the end of James Toseland’s tenure with Yamaha. Toseland currently sits seventh in the WSBK standings with Yamaha Sterilgarda following two seasons racing for the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team.