Eugene Laverty on Pramac Ducati shortlist

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Ducati has confirmed that Eugene Laverty features on a shortlist to replace Andrea Iannone in the Pramac squad for 2015.

Paolo Campinoti’s Italian team is seeking another rider, having initially thought Iannone would be remaining next season following Cal Crutchlow’s declaration at World Ducati Week last month that he would be staying on a Desmosedici in 2015.

The British rider then completed a shock move to LCR Honda, which then saw Ducati promote Iannone into its factory squad with compatriot Andrea Dovizioso.

That has meant Pramac has had to go back into the rider market, and current Crescent Suzuki World Superbike rider Laverty is a leading candidate.

Laverty is well known by new Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna after they worked together at Aprilia in World Superbikes.

The Irish rider, who missed out on a factory Suzuki seat in MotoGP, has also been linked with Aprilia now it seems the Noale factory is returning with a full works effort next season.

LCR Honda has also contacted Laverty in case a deal with Moto3 world championship leader Jack Miller can’t be concluded.

Laverty’s rivals for the Pramac seat include highly rated Swiss Moto2 rider Dominique Aegerter.

And it seems Ducati and Pramac favour plucking a young talent out of the Moto2 class, with Caterham rider Johann Zarco also mentioned.

Pramac team manager Francesco Guidotti told MCN: “We are considering Eugene because for sure he could be the safest choice in terms of performance and sponsor response. But he is also 28 and he has no experience in this championship and so that is a risk.

"The other riders we are interested are Aegerter and Zarco. We are looking at our options but most probably we will take a young rider from Moto2.”

An outsider for the Desmosedici ride next to Yonny Hernandez is 21-year-old American Cameron Beaubier.

Guidotti knows Beaubier after the pair worked together in a KTM 125GP squad back in 2009.

Guidotti added: “I would have a chat with him. I knew him in 2009 in 125s and it was a tough season because of his age and he was away from home on his own and the bike was not performing well.”

Ducati informed MCN in Indianapolis last weekend that it intends to finalise Iannone's replacement during this weekend's Czech Republic round in Brno.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt