Eugene Laverty says he is living the dream in the MotoGP World Championship as the Northern Ireland rider unwinds during the short summer break until the next round of the series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Laverty has been in terrific form in his second season in the premier class on the Aspar Ducati, clinching an incredible fourth place back in April in the weather-affected Argentina round at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
The 30-year-old is one of only three riders to have scored points in every race this season and is currently in 10th place in the points standings after the first nine rounds.
Laverty, who has been linked with a move back to the World Superbike Championship in 2017, recalls a time not long ago when competing at the top level of motorcycle racing in MotoGP was merely a distant dream.
“I do have to pinch myself sometimes because I remember many years ago when the thought of racing in MotoGP was but a distant dream,” said the Toomebridge man, who raced in the 250cc Grand Prix class before competing in World Supersport and Superbikes prior to his return to the Grand Prix paddock.
“One of my main focuses in life has always been to keep improving so in truth I climbed the racing ladder without stopping to take it all in. I think that’s the case for many riders though.
“We’re so focused that if often takes someone else to point out what we have achieved before it really sinks in. Bike culture is actually very popular in my country thanks to historic road races like the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix,” he added.
“As a kid I grew up watching those races trackside amongst 100,000 other passionate fans.
“Considering it’s such a small place we really have an incredible number of world level athletes from Northern Ireland. It is even more incredible that we are three brothers from the same family!” Laverty added.
“I believe our attitude has been key in bringing us to the top level as we are humble and hard-working. At the end of the day we are just people that work hard to do our job the best that we can, nothing more.”
Laverty said that his unorthodox route into MotoGP had transformed him into one of the most versatile riders in the sport.
“My path has been a little unusual but in turn it has made me into one of the most versatile riders out there. I have raced in four different categories at world championship level, plus I have won world championship races with four different manufacturers,” he said.
“I feel that this has taught me certain skills that perhaps riders with more conventional backgrounds do not possess.
“I’ve always been open to riding in both World Superbikes and MotoGP and so every year I consider options in both paddocks.”
Assessing his season so far, Laverty says he has accomplished one of his main objectives by improving his consistency.
“I have already achieved one of my biggest goals for the 2016 season which was to improve my consistency. In recent years I felt that I put too much pressure on myself on race day and often crashed whereas this year I am one of just three riders to score points in every race.
“I’m very proud of this achievement as it shows that I have recognised a weakness and turned it around. We’ve put together a great season so far and we’re well on course to achieve our aim of finishing in the top ten in the championship.”