Belfast Telegraph

I’ve no bother compared to my brother, says Eugene Laverty

By Jim Gracey

Twenty-four hours after cheering up his seriously injured biker brother with a World Superbike scorch around Silverstone, Eugene Laverty yesterday had the compliment returned.

A visit to older brother John, being treated for serious bike crash injuries at a Liverpool hospital, quickly made Eugene forget his own woes brought about by the surprise collapse of his Yamaha World Superbike team.

“John (right) still isn't very well after his accident in British Superbike practice at Oulton Park, just after his 29th birthday last month,” said Eugene (25).

“He has broken virtually every bone in his body and faces a long road back to recovery but thankfully his organs and vital signs are intact. His predicament certainly puts mine in perspective.”

Falling motorcycle sales have been blamed by Yamaha for the shock decision to withdraw from the World Superbike series next season, despite the resounding success of Laverty and team-mate Marco Melandri, fourth and third in the world standings respectively.

Laverty had dedicated his two Silverstone second places to his proud big brother, unaware the afterglow of his latest success was about to be dimmed.

“I was informed of Yamaha's decision by phone just an hour before the official announcement. Prior to that there had been no inkling and in fact we were talking about next season's contracts,” Eugene added.

“I'm still shock but not despondent. I've still go the rest of this season to complete and now it's a shop window.

“It's only been one day but already the prospects of continuing in World Superbikes next season look positive from the soundings I've had.

“MotoGP is another option but that's a hard field to get into.”

There's also the possibility Yamaha will remain if they can find a sponsorship partner similar to the arrangement involving third brother Michael Laverty from the Toomebridge bike dynasty, who is unaffected, riding in British Superbikes for the privately-backed Swan Yamaha team.

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Motorcycling's world governing body has confirmed the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi will go ahead as planned in October.

The FIM commissioned an independent report to investigate the “general situation” in Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency which stuck the country in March causing massive loss of life.

And after receiving the final report, the FIM today confirmed in a statement: “Subject to there being no further serious incidents, the Grand Prix of Japan will take place on October 2 as planned.”

The report, which looked at radiation levels from a number of sources including air, environment and food, claims that “the radiation risk during the race event is negligible”.

The Motegi circuit is situated less than 100 miles from the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant, which suffered meltdowns and nuclear leaks in the wake of the devastating magnitude 9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami on March 11.

Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo and current series leader Casey Stoner have already stated that they do not intend to take part in the race, which has been rescheduled from its original date of April 24.

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