Italian job for Laverty as he stays on WSB grid
After much speculation as to his future, Eugene Laverty has secured a ride in the 2019 World Superbike Championship with the Italian Go Eleven Ducati team, riding one of the all-new Panigale V4R machines.
Laverty lost his place with Shaun Muir Racing when it confirmed its factory tie-up with BMW for 2019 with ex-World Champion Tom Sykes and reigning European Superstock 1000cc champion Markus Reiterberger as the riders.
Laverty, whose 2018 season was a mix of injury, pole positions and a podium on an Aprilia, seemed to be running out of options until the Go Eleven team stepped in with the new Ducati.
The Toomebridge rider commented: "The last five weeks have been a stressful period, so it is a weight off my shoulders to be joining Team Go Eleven to ride the new Ducati V4 Panigale.
"The support from the factory in Bologna is reassuring and I'm confident we will have a package to fight for victories next season. I have to thank team manager Denis Sacchetti and everyone at Team Go Eleven for putting their trust in me."
2019 is already looking a competitive year in WSB with the new Ducati expected to be challenging the all-conquering Kawasakis of four-time World Champion Jonathan Rea and team-mate Leon Haslam, Yamaha and the new-look Moriwaki Honda team with Eugene looking to dispute the leading positions race-on-race.
In a weekend of changes ahead of the 2019 BSB season, EHA Yamaha, who earlier named Alastair Seeley as their sole British Supersport runner, are entering uncharted territory when they also enter the British Superbike Championship for the first time with class rookie David Allingham.
The 23-year-old Eglington rider old said: "I've had my eye on this move for a couple of seasons. We've won races in Supersport and competed at the sharp end with the likes of Taz Mackenzie, Jake Dixon and Andrew Irwin to name a few ex-Supersport riders, who have all shown great promise in BSB.
"I'm under no illusions at the size of the task ahead, but I'm confident with a lot of hard work we can match those I've already mentioned and establish ourselves in the series as a worthy team and package."
Derek Sheils and new signing Tom Weeden will spearhead an exciting revamped Burrows Engineering Racing line-up in conjunction with Richardson Kelly Racing in 2019.
Businesswoman and road racing enthusiast Charlotte Richardson grew up with motorcycle road racing with her sister on the Isle of Man.
She hails from a family with a motorcycle racing heritage and is looking forward to supporting the Burrows Engineering Racing team for the first time next year.
Dubliner Sheils has a long and successful association with ex-racer John Burrows' Dungannon-based outfit, while 24-year-old Weeden from Kent is the latest in a string of promising young riders to join the Burrows Engineering Racing ranks.
Carrick's Andrew Irwin is to be joined in the Honda UK BSB team by Spaniard Xavi Fores, who had a strong 2018 in World Superbike scoring four podiums and ending the year as top independent rider on a Barni Racing Ducati.
Recent winner of the Macau Grand Prix, Peter Hickman will remain with the Smiths BMW team next season for another international road race campaign and will be joined by James Ellison for the team's BSB campaign.
However, Fermanagh's Lee Johnston will not be riding alongside Ian Hutchinson for Honda UK in 2019 with his destination unknown at present.
Flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey is set to return to competitive action after missing the 2018 season in his battle with cancer and being announced alongside Manxman Conor Cummins in the Milenco Security by Padgetts Honda Racing team at the Birmingham Motorcycle Show over the weekend.