Eugene Laverty reckons the process of sorting out his 2014 racing plans was arguably the most stressful period of his career.
The Irishman will ride for the British-based Crescent Suzuki WSB squad after potential deals with Aspar and Pramac Ducati to switch to MotoGP fell through.
MCN caught up with the ex-factory Aprilia WSB rider recently to see how he ended up on a GSX-R1000 with current BSB champion Alex Lowes.
Did Aspar ditching Aprilia kill that deal for you?
“When Aspar left Aprilia and went to Honda they were still interested in me but at the end there was another rider put in place and that ended. It looked like I was pushed out by Aprilia in WSB to make way for (Marco) Melandri, but the intention was always for me to come to MotoGP with Aprilia and help them develop to be ready when they did go full factory in the future. It was wrong time and wrong place and unfortunately the opportunity disappeared.”
And what happened with Pramac Ducati?
“I was really keen on being with Ducati if it was going to be a development programme, but the deeper I got into it the more it looked like a risky move because I’ve always said when I come back to MotoGP it has to be right. It is still my intention to come back to MotoGP but it has got to be on the right deal because last time I was here I was lapped by a few people and that shows how important the machinery is.”
How close did you get to riding the non-factory (Open) Ducati at Pramac?
“We got down to the finer details and everything was in place, so it was close. I suppose with the Jerez double win, Aprilia thought letting me go might not be the smartest thing, so they tried to work out and find a third factory seat in WSB but in the end it was too little, too late.”
A 2013-spec Ducati with four more litres and controlled electronics would have been a huge gamble wouldn’t it?
“In the end that was a real concern and it was going to be a bike that wouldn’t really change much. It is not like they have had fools on the bike when you look at Nicky (Hayden) and (Andrea) Dovizioso. I am realistic and knew I wasn’t going to jump on that bike and set the world on fire. Nicky and Dovi have been fighting on the last lap many times and that shows the limiting factor is the bike. In the end the risk was too big.”
So how much of an uncertain few weeks has it been with lots of different options coming and going?
“It has been a chaotic few weeks and probably the most stressful of my career. It has been a strange few weeks because at one point it looked like for sure I was going to Ducati but I will stay in WSB.”