Belfast Telegraph

Eugene and Michael Laverty brothers in arms for 2014

By PAUL LINDSAY

Toomebridge brothers Eugene and Michael Laverty could both be competing on Aprilia bikes next year -- albeit in different championships.

It's a massive u-turn for Eugene who was initially told there would be no third season offer for him at Aprilia Racing in World Superbike, despite going on to record nine wins from a phenomenal season that produced no less than 19 podiums.

The Monaco based 27-year-old has been linked with both Aspar Honda and Pramac Ducati to ride production based machinery in MotoGP next term but Aprilia now seem set to try and retain his services in the Superbike class.

Laverty, who has also been linked with Paul Denning's FIXI Crescent Suzuki team in WSB, told me: "It now looks like Aprilia are pushing hard to keep me on for 2014. I'm currently in discussions with four teams for next year, but that's all I can really say at the minute."

Those aforementioned teams all have their strengths and weaknesses in terms a career package for Eugene, but I have a feeling should Aprilia make a solid enough offer, then a three pronged attack alongside Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri in in WSB would certainly seem to be the most obvious choice.

His brother Michael, meanwhile, is caught up in a dilemma facing his current team boss at PBM Motorsport, Paul Bird. The Cumbrian businessman's best-laid plans were thrown into chaos by his recently crowned British Superbike champion Alex Lowes' move to FIXI Crescent Suzuki in World Superbike.

Bird's PBM team are currently in discussions with Aprilia to be their official representatives in the MotoGP paddock in 2014, but while those discussions become somewhat protracted, Michael has been forced to gamble, effectively turning down two factory-supported rides in British Superbikes.

There's every chance Bird could scrap his MotoGP project to concentrate on BSB, and if that does happens, then Laverty could possibly be slotted in alongside three time champion Byrne.

But where would that leave recent PBM Motorsport acquisition Stuart Easton? The 2013 British Supersport champion could well find himself back in the middleweight class, defending his title against former team Mar-Train Racing.

Clogher's Keith Farmer is another local man still chasing a ride for 2014 and the double Superstock class champion has been linked with Moneymore based Tyco Suzuki.

GB Moto is another option for Farmer, with the Sussex based team expected to switch from Honda to Kawasaki power in 2014. Former Milwaukee Yamaha rider James Ellison is rumoured to be their number one target, with Aussie Josh Brookes expected to fill Ellison's seat in Shaun Muir's team.

Halsall Racing also run Kawasaki machinery, which Farmer is familiar with, but three-time BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari is in the frame, too.

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