2015 was a big year for Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty who made the bold step up to MotoGP from World Superbikes; a move many greats have been unable to do, as well as taking the steps down the aisle to make his girlfriend of 10 years his wife.
Back in September we spoke to Laverty about his season so far aboard the Aspar Honda machine and the 29 year old spoke about his frustration in turning pace to results, something that seemed to plague his 2015 season: “Yeah, we’ve had ups and downs in the year, really strong performances in places like Argentina, Jerez. We didn’t quite get the race results we deserved then, but I think we showed the potential, but I think I tried too much too soon and crashed a lot and when you crash like that it dent’s your confidence.
I realise I had to calm down and take it step by step. There were tracks like Jerez which was a track I knew and then suddenly I went to a host of tracks I didn’t have much experience on and I wanted more and I started to crash it and once we’ve settled down I’ve started to find a good rhythm again and I just want the race results to come, it’s really annoying because we’ve got potential but the race results aren’t showing that.”
In spite of his lacking results, Laverty was able to pick up his pace at the end of the season and finished fairly high up in the Open Class championship and ‘race results.’
Despite his grip struggles aboard the Honda RCV1000R Laverty was able to finish a race as the top open class rider at Aragon, a goal he set himself at Silverstone. “I haven’t won an open class race so I want to get at least one there, I think it would help if I could get a little higher up in qualifying, if you can squeeze at least a top 15, which is a hell of a performance in Open Class but I need to be at least top 18 in the Open class as I’m around 22nd on the grid and that makes it harder because if you can get away with the faster guys, like when I qualified in Argentina or Jerez, it was much easier.”
Finishing the season in 22nd position overall shows the Irishman had a tough start to his MotoGP campaign, but like many greats before him it may be a steady learning process, particularly on a bike which we know isn’t as powerful as Marquez’ championship winning Repsol Honda. Making a notoriously tough switch over may pay off in the long run though, as the Monaco resident admitted by August that he was already riding with a different style and how he was developing as a rider.
With Aspar MotoGP making the switch to Ducati for 2016 it’ll be all change again for Eugene but it was clear he was happy to see the back of 2015, as he retired from the final race of the season and then signed off the year with a bang. On just his second spin on the Desmocedici, Laverty crashed at Jerez’ high speed turn seven during testing.
Just two weeks before he was due to walk down the aisle, he suffered a fracture to his left radius and required surgery in Barcelona. Turn seven has proven difficult with the new for Michelin tyres for riders, but Laverty insists the switch from World Superbike’s Pirelli tyres was tougher: “WSBK Pirelli tyres and MotoGP Bridgestone tyres are fairly different ends of the spectrum, so they have been the biggest thing to adjust too. The bike isn’t as big of a change as many people think, but the tyre was significantly different.”
Checking out of hospital on the 28th November, Eugene and Pippa tied the knot on the 7th December in Ireland and we would like to extend our congratulations to the happy couple. Even though the pair were able to exchange vows they will have to wait to jet off into the sunset, as their honeymoon has been delayed due to the Groom’s injuries.