World Superbike Championship runner-up Eugene Laverty has signed a deal with the Crescent Suzuki team to race in the 2014 season.
Laverty finished second to Kawasaki‘s Tom Sykes this season, with nine wins and 19 total podium finishes for the Aprilia factory team riding the RSV4. Next season, Laverty will switch to the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000.
“It is an exciting prospect for the Crescent Suzuki team to have secured the services of a rider of Eugene’s caliber,” says Paul Denning, Crescent Suzuki team manager. “He has shown regularly this season that he has the determination, ability and technique to secure superb results, even when things are against him. Eugene brings a different level of expectation to the team and it is now up to us to give him the tool for the job. We have made big steps this season with the GSX-R, and with further developments planned for 2014 I am convinced that Eugene will be able to get the maximum potential from the Suzuki.”
At first glance, the move may appear to be a step backward for Laverty, going from the perennially competitive RSV4 to the GSX-R1000. Suzuki’s last WSBK victory came in 2010, with Leon Haslam winning the second race of the Kyalami South African round.
On the other hand, Aprilia is having some problems of its own, despite its racing success, and the team is under new leadership with Romano Albesiano taking over for Luigi “Gigi” Dall’Igna who left to run Ducati Corse. Aprilia signed Marco Melandri to take Laverty’s place alongside the returning Sylvain Guintoli.
A good season with Suzuki may also make him a prime candidate for the manufacturer’s impending return to the MotoGP world championship in 2015.
“I’m delighted to join Crescent Suzuki for the 2014 season. I will try the GSX-R1000 for the first time at the end of this month to better understand our potential, and I am really excited to see what I can do with the bike,” says Laverty. “Thank you to Paul Denning and his team, and to Suzuki, for pushing so hard for this deal and for believing in me. I will give everything I possibly can to bring Suzuki to the top of the podium again!”