Belfast Telegraph

Eugene Laverty set to step up a gear into MotoGP

By Paul Lindsay

If the paddock grapevine is tuned into the correct channel, then Monaco-based Ulsterman Eugene Laverty is set to announce his plans for 2015 in the coming days.

This will mean a move away from Suzuki in the World Superbike paddock to join the Aspar Honda squad in Moto Grand Prix.

The deal has become more likely since British rider Scott Redding ruled himself out of a move to the Aspar squad to join American Nicky Hayden in 2015.

Redding will return to the Marc VDS Racing team, where he made his name on the GP scene as a teenager.

The 21-year-old enigmatic Englishman will get to throw his leg over a factory Honda RC213V in Marc VDS livery, while Laverty will ride a production RCV1000R Honda with Aspar.

Laverty has been a regular fixture in the MotoGP paddock of late chasing any potential opportunity that arises, as he looks to finally make the quantum leap into the MotoGP big league.

Other teams that have been linked with the Irishman are Pramac Ducati and to a lesser extent Forward Racing.

Should he land the Aspar deal with Jorge Martinez’s team alongside Hayden, then the Toomebridge lad will get to ride a massively improved and upgraded RCV1000R for 2015, which will include pneumatic valve technology.

Speaking to Laverty just last week, he was openly frustrated that nothing had yet fallen into place, and while the 28-year-old was unavailable for comment late last night, this latest development would certainly get the musical chairs into full swing with a number of other riders and teams waiting on the ‘top dog’ domino effect.

Despite fellow Ulsterman Jonathan Rea also remaining tight-lipped on his 2015 plans, an announcement on a deal with Kawasaki to ride alongside current world champion Tom Sykes is imminent.

This would be a great move for Rea, who deserves better than what Honda are currently offering such a loyal employee. This would leave the door open for Pata Honda to try and secure veteran racer and world championship contender Sylvain Guintoli into their ranks for 2015, alongside their World Supersport champion, Dutchman Michael Van der Mark.

So where does that leave British rider Leon Haslam? The biggest money is on the Suzuki 8-Hour winner returning to British Superbike with the official Honda team, potentially alongside Aussie Jason O’Halloran.

It’s well known that Honda are also chasing the signature of another Aussie, Josh Brookes, and with Milwaukee Yamaha almost certain not to compete on the road racing scene in 2015, Brookes could end up at one of his former teams: Honda or Tyco Suzuki.

Of the leading BSB contenders, that really only leaves Shane Byrne and the returning Michael Laverty to find seats, with both men almost certain to stay with Paul Bird Motorsport — forming the strongest duo on the grid in 2015 aboard Kawasaki machinery.

But who will land the number one spot at Milwaukee Yamaha alongside Tommy Bridewell?

Could an Aussie replace an Aussie with Broc Parkes stepping into Shaun Muir’s team?

All will be revealed very soon.

Belfast Telegraph

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