Laverty Joins Melandri In Sterilgarda Yamaha World Superbike Squad

As the 2010 World Superbike creeps towards its conclusion, the attention of the teams is being turned to next season. Yamaha's World Superbike squad announced the first half of their 2011 rider line up on Sunday, when they announced that Marco Melandri would be switching from MotoGP to WSBK for next season. And today, Yamaha announced that the other side of the Sterilgarda Yamaha garage will be filled by Eugene Laverty, the young Irishman who is still in the hunt for this year's World Supersport title.

Laverty has made no secret of his desire to move up to World Superbikes, though it had been widely believed that he would graduate with his current team, the Parkalgar Honda squad, who have been rumored to be moving into World Superbikes for some time. With Laverty having signed with Yamaha, doubts have arisen over the prospects of the Parkalgar team - managed by the outspoken Simon Buckmaster - making the move up to WSBK for 2011. 

The Yamaha press release is shown below:

Yamaha signs Eugene Laverty to complete 2011 World Superbike Team

Yamaha has signed a contract with current World Supersport title contender Eugene Laverty to join the Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team on the YZF-R1 alongside MotoGP rider Marco Melandri for the 2011 season. 24 yr old Laverty from Northern Ireland is a proven racer, having come second to Yamaha's reigning World Supersport Champion Cal Crutchlow in the 2009 championship with four race wins. He is currently just 12 points behind the lead in the current standings with two further rounds to go having taken seven race wins and five pole position starts so far this season.

Laverty is no stranger to Yamaha, taking time out from the 250cc MotoGP Championship to enjoy two wild card 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.

"It's great to have a contract signed at this stage while still fighting for the title in the Supersport class. I desperately want to win this year before moving on," said Eugene Laverty. "When I rode the Yamaha YZF-R6 in World Supersport in 2008 I was having a tough time in 250s, it's nice that Yamaha brought me to the fore and are now giving me the opportunity within superbike. Ben Spies winning the championship in 2009 and Cal Crutchlow now stepping up and winning races shows the bike and team are more than capable so the rest is up to me. I think with the team support and a good testing schedule we can start the 2011 championship ready to be competitive from the first race and be on the podium as early as possible. Having a teammate like Marco Melandri is great, he has a wealth of experience to learn from so I'm going to enjoy riding with him."

"We've been very impressed with Eugene in the World Supersport Championship," said Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp. "He is a very talented racer who has shown great dedication to training, is focussed on victory and we know he's a great person to work with. We have proved with Cal Crutchlow that we have the facility to bring young riders through from World Supersport, continue to nurture and develop them in World Superbike and provide them with further opportunities in MotoGP if the situation is right. We look forward to working with Eugene and believe he has the talent to continue through with Yamaha into the future."

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interesting complete change to yamah's world superbike team, so maybe its true that toseland is going to bmw's team.

Not feeling it. Laverty on an Aprilia, though, that would be something to get excited about. I wish him the best, and Melandri as well. WSBK is looking very interesting for 2011.

Excellent, this is the best news I've heard in the moto world all week. I am a fan of tactical riding, smooth technique and humble personality, all of which this lad has in spades. Good luck to you Eugene.

should move Gino Rea up in Laverty's open spot, he's been looking pretty good these last two races. (3rd and then a very close 2nd)

Yamaha's rider turnover is insane, with four different rider pairings in four consecutive years: Haga/Corser in 2008, Spies/Sykes in 2009, Toseland/Crutchlow this year, and now Melandri/Laverty in 2011. While last year was a good one, this year has been underwhelming. Maybe some consistency in the pilot department could help them become dominant in WSBK; having three different lead development riders so far working on the cross-plane crank R1 (Corser, Spies, and Toseland? I suppose) can't be the best way to consistently develop a bike.

I don't know if they are suffering from lack of development. They are generally competitive each year. What seems to separate them from the top is a key rider or some inconsistent performances in terms of DNFs. It's not like they are in the same situation as Kawasaki. I think their situation really illustrates being at sea from the factory. Sykes should be recognized for his efforts and results this year.

I took some heat at the beginning of the season when I said Toseland wasn't gonna go straight to WSBK and be a winner again and that there were other riders from the UK who are just as quick if not quicker and much easier to like. Laverty is one of those guys. That Yamaha team looks to be pretty solid for next year and you have to wonder if Toseland has kinda burned some bridges again this year wit ha team.

Great to see Yamaha give another young charger a break.I would also love to see Eugene take the SS title this year.
Not to take anything away from James,a very accomplished rider over the years,
but he has at age 30 or so, passed his peak. Racer's like Troy Bayliss,who peaked so late are few and far between and cannot be used as a yardstick. Absolute exception to the rule.
Marco at 28 and Eugene at 24 would make sense to any outfit.
Good choice by Sterilgarda.

He may have peaked but I think it's too early to write him off. He had his Ducati Championship then a few off years to then win again. Not getting on with the bike in MotoGP in 2009 rattled his confidence quite a bit and to expect that to come back in a year may be an ask. Corser has had 9 years between championships and is still competitive. Haga, Biaggi, Corser, Bayliss, Checca, Chili and others have show that you can win in WSBK when you are no longer a young pup.