Belfast Telegraph

Yamaha’s Superbikes pull-out stuns Eugene Laverty

By Graham Luney

Still on a high from his double podium appearance at Silverstone, Eugene Laverty has been brought down to earth with the news that there will be no Yamaha World Superbike team next season.

Laverty clinched two second places in Sunday's World Superbike Championship round but he will now be reflecting on the shocking timing of the announcement of Yamaha’s decision.

The Toomebridge man and Marco Melandri — fourth and third respectively in the World Championship standings — will be looking for a new team after the Japanese manufacturer decided not to continue with their factory-backed outfit.

A shocked Laverty said: “I’m open to any offers now. It’s been quite a few days with me feeling great at the weekend after my two second placed finishes and now I get this news.

“We were all set for next year and planning ahead but now everything has changed. After gearing up to fight for the title now we are fighting to get a new job.

“It’s certainly wasn’t a decision that is results based but we all know we are living in tough economic times and these things can happen. Bikes aren’t selling like they used to. The timing of this decision is not great but it will not affect my focus or my performances for this season. I’m a professional and I will continue to give 100 per cent to the team.”

The development is also a shattering blow to Welshman Chaz Davies who leads the Supersport World Championship for the same team with four rounds to go.

Yamaha Motor Europe blame falling motorcycle sales throughout the region. It’s a suprise move as the team extended its contracts with Melandri and Laverty into 2012, but it highlights the rapidly changing conditions in the motorcycle industry — the two-wheeled market is feeling the strain.

A statement from Yamaha Motor Europe read: “YME would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation for the total commitment, support and passion shown by the extremely professional and dedicated riders and team members both past and present throughout the many years of participation in the FIM Superbike World Championship.

“YME has chosen this timing of announcement to ensure that all existing obligations are correctly met, and to not limit any opportunities or future planning for all personnel involved.”

Yamaha, who clinched the World Superbike title in 2009, will make specialist parts available to any teams wishing to run the R1 and R6 models in the 2012 Superbike and Supersport Championships.

It will focus its resources on more “direct customer activities to ultimately add more value to Yamaha ownership and increased customer satisfaction.”

Laverty won his first World Superbike race at Monza in May and went on to complete the double in race two, with Melandri taking second spot.

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