Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Michael Laverty lured towards world stage in MotoGP

Michael Laverty
Michael Laverty

British Superbike front-runner Michael Laverty could well be joining brother Eugene on the World championship stage next season if things go to plan in the next 48 hours — but not in World Superbike.

Michael lured towards world stage in MotoGP Tempting offer: Michael Laverty is set to ride Paul Bird Motorsport’s ART Aprilia next seasonBritish Superbike front-runner Michael Laverty could well be joining brother Eugene on the World championship stage next season if things go to plan in the next 48 hours — but not in World Superbike.

The Presteigne-based rider currently has three offers on the table: two in British Superbike, with Honda and Yamaha teams, and a late offer from Paul Bird Motorsport to ride their ART Aprilia alongside Columbian Jonny Hernandez in MotoGP’s CRT class.

Laverty’s back is currently against the wall with time ticking on that contract offer from Shaun Muir’s Yamaha team, who are also set to announce a new sponsor for 2013 in the coming days; but the Toomebridge lad, who finished fifth in this year’s BSB Championship with Samsung Honda, is being swayed by the lure of a season in MotoGP.

“I’ve got on really well with both Honda and Yamaha teams these past two season, but the lure of World championship and racing against Edwards and De Puniet in CRT is appealing,” Laverty explained.

“I know it’s the second tier championship in MotoGP, and it’s even harder to know what is the best decision to make, as the Yamaha deal with Shaun is right on the wire and he can’t hold on much longer.”

Ironically, the out-going CRT rider at PBM Motorsport, James Ellison, would have been Laverty’s likely team-mate in the Yamaha BSB team and with Honda dragging their heels, it looks almost certain that we will see the 31-year-old back under the watchful eye of Cumbrian entrepreneur Paul Bird.

“They are an English-speaking team and I’ve worked with Paul before, so I know the good and the bad sides; I know what to expect,” he laughed. “Honda haven’t given me a contract but they have told me they’d like to sign me to ride alongside Alex Lowes in BSB, but that was two months ago and there hasn’t been a concrete offer.”

The CRT deal with PBM Motorsport is a contracted ride with wages, which has become a dirty word these days in racing, with riders normally paying for the privilege. Add to that the lure of 19 rounds at the world’s best racetracks and a life experience to boot. And I think Laverty’s mind is already made up.

“Yeah it’s something I don’t really want to pass by. It’s not going to be like the season I left BSB to go to America. The CRT class will get plenty of publicity and I’m getting paid to do it,” he said.

If team owner Paul Bird can convince promoters Dorna to rubber stamp his new Irish rider with added British appeal, then I’d say Laverty can start dreaming of Phillip Island, Sepang and Catalunya this Christmas.

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