Taking up the challenge for Yamaha in the 2011 World Superbike Championship alongside Italian teammate Marco Melandri will be 24yr old rider Eugene Laverty from Northern Ireland. Laverty is a proven racer, having come second to Yamaha’s reigning World Supersport Champion Cal Crutchlow in the 2009 World Supersport Championship with four race wins. The 2010 World Supersport Championship saw Laverty again take the fight for the title to the last race, just missing out on the number one spot by 11 points, scoring ten podiums including eight race wins and five pole position starts over the season.
Laverty is no stranger to Yamaha; taking time out from the 250cc MotoGP Championship to enjoy two Wildcard World Supersport rides in 2008 in place of injured rider Fabien Foret. The young rider adapted quickly, scoring an impressive podium finish with third in his second outing at Vallelunga.
His first ever ride on a Superbike came at the end of the 2010 season during his first test with the Yamaha team on the YZF-R1. The young rider impressed, coming away from the two-day test in mixed weather conditions at the Magny Cours circuit as the fastest recorded rider there, boding well for his 2011 championship chances.
Laverty started road racing in 2001 in the Irish Young Guns series, finishing third. He made his debut in the British 125cc Championship in 2002, his efforts were recognized and he was announced a winner in the Irish Champion of Champions award. He continued to race in the 125cc class through 2003, finishing seventh and 2004 where he narrowly missed out on the title, taking second in the standings. 2005 saw him move up to the British Supersport Championship, scoring ninth in is first year and rising to second in the standings in 2006 before moving to the world stage to ride in the 250cc world championships.
When not racing Laverty can be found relaxing at home in Northern Ireland enjoying cycling and trials bike riding.