Belfast Telegraph

Laverty lands Super role as Flint prodigy

By Paul Lindsay

Welsh based Ulsterman Michael Laverty will join the McAMS Yamaha team, run by Prodigy front man Keith Flint, for the 2017 British Superbike season.

The Toome rider, from a trio of famed racing brothers, believes he has landed one of the 'plum seats' in the British Superbike Championship, after struggling for consistency this past two seasons on the Tyco BMW.

Laverty. brother of Eugene and John, recorded two wins in 2016, but his inconsistent form saw him miss out on the all important Shown top six, so he would openly admit, he's a lucky boy to have landed a ride with Yamaha's official team alongside James Ellison - on the same machinery took Aussie Josh Brookes to the BSB title in 2015.

Speaking at the launch of his new team at the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC in Birmingham, the former MotoGP ace said: "I'm really excited to be joining the McAMS Yamaha team for the 2017 season. The R1 is a fantastic motorcycle - it's a bike built for the racetrack in many ways.

"I have very fond memories of my previous spell on Yamaha machinery in 2011, and from that experience, I know the DNA of the R1, both in terms of power delivery and chassis performance suit a smooth rider, something that is well aligned to my natural riding style."

The team will again be run by Keith Flint's Team Traction Control outfit, headed up by team manager Grant Bunting, and with Ellison, third in this year's series, and Laverty possessing plenty of ability, Yamaha UK should again have a great chance of challenging for the BSB title.

Speaking frankly of his chances, Laverty said: "BSB is currently tougher than ever, but I believe I have put myself in a fantastic position ahead of the 2017 on one of the 'plum' seats.

"Shakey Byrne and Leon Haslam were the top dogs in 2016. They remain on the same machinery for next season, so it is fair to assume they will again be the guys to beat."

The team has also, astutely acquired the services of reigning British Supersport champion Tarran Mackenzie; son of former 500GP star and multiple British champion Niall Mackenzie.

Yet to announce his plans for the 2017 season is Carrick's Glenn Irwin, who covered himself in glory on Saturday during his debut at the Macau Grand Prix.

Riding the BeWiser factory-supported PBM Ducati Panigale that he campaigned all year in BSB, Irwin qualified on the front row alongside Martin Jessopp and eight-time winner Michael Rutter.

If that wasn't enough, the tenacious Ulsterman held his own throughout the intense 12-lap battle on the Armco and stone-wall lined Guia circuit and was well in the podium hunt until his Ducati developed a wiring loom failure on the penultimate lap.

Peter Hickman went on to take the win from Batham's SMT BMW team-mate Michael Rutter with Jessop third on the Rider's BMW. Disappointed Irwin said: "It was an awesome experience and I'd like to come back in 2017, as with more experience I believe I could podium at least."

Belfast Telegraph


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