Laverty excited to get down to business with his new team
Eugene Laverty will make his Team Go Eleven Ducati Panigale V4R debut at the first World Superbike test of 2019 today and tomorrow after an eleventh-hour deal with the Italian outfit.
The Ulsterman, who was dropped by Shaun Muir and Milwaukee Aprilia at the end of last season, said: "This new deal was too late for the test at the end of 2018 and I've been counting down the days until my first ride on the new V4 Ducati.
"Now it has arrived. I'm excited not only to try the bike for the first time, but also to begin working with Team Go Eleven and Denis Saccheti (the team manager).
"The aim is to understand the potential of the new bike and from there it will allow me to set a clear objective for the season ahead.
"My bikes are the same as the factory bikes of Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista to start with and then, depending on results, hopefully new parts will filter down to Team Go Eleven."
Meanwhile, fresh from being named Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a record fourth consecutive time, Jonathan Rea and his Kawasaki Racing Team will reunite after the winter break.
Along with new recruit Leon Haslam, they will be concentrating their efforts on making final choices of components, electronics and overall set-up of the updated Ninja ZX-10RR ahead of a two-day shakedown at Portimao at the weekend prior to heading to Australia ahead of the opening round of the 2019 Championship at Phillip Island from February 23-25.
Rea commented: "I'm excited to meet up with the team again. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off at the last test before Christmas.
"It has been a long, long winter, but I am feeling refreshed and ready to go again after a lot of time at home.
"We were fast at Jerez in November, so I hope with more new parts we can begin performance testing and simulated race runs to find a good base setting with the machine."
Of course, the record-breaking four-time world champion is the man with a target on his back for 2019.
Full-factory backed efforts will come from Aruba.it Ducati, Pata Yamaha, the new BMW Motorrad WSBK Team, Althea Moriwaki HRC Honda, GRT Yamaha, Barni Racing Ducati and of course Team Go Eleven, who are all looking to make their mark on the timesheets and threaten the all-conquering Kawasaki Racing Team.