Belfast Telegraph

Eugene’s final Port of call ahead of Superbike debut

By Jim Gracey

Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea today step up their World Superbike preparations in Portugal.

With just a month to go until the 2011 season gets underway at Phillip Island, Australia, on February 27, Yamaha rider Laverty and Honda's Rea have joined the championship’s other main protagonists for a three-day official test at the Portimao track on the Algarve.

Toome raider Laverty left Phillip Island fastest overall after a three-day test early in December and can’t wait to get back onboard his factory Yamaha YZF-R1 machine, a big step up in power from his previous 600 Supersport.

“I’m looking forward to it because it a good bit of track time for me and the team,” said Laverty. “I’m excited about getting back on the bike, it’s been about six or seven weeks since the Australia test and I’m itching to get out there again.

“One of the big things for me is to have another three days on the Superbike because my brain still thinks it’s in 600cc mode sometimes. At the moment I still have to remind myself every time I hop on the bike that it’s going to be faster, and I know after a few days the 600 mentality will have all but vanished.”

Laverty will use the test to get fully up to speed with his 2011 bike ahead of his rookie season in the world’s leading Superbike championship, as well as pitting himself against his rivals.

“These are set to include 2010 champion Max Biaggi and his Alitalia Aprilia team-mate Leon Camier, the Castrol Hondas of fellow Ulsterman Rea and Ruben Xaus, Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz.

“We have a few little things to work on with the bike and electronics, but I think it’s mainly about just getting on there, and getting up to speed as quickly as I can. Being the fastest man doesn’t worry me particularly at this point.”

Belfast Telegraph

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