Eugene Laverty isn’t putting himself under any pressure to perform next season as he assumes the role of the Aprilia team’s senior rider following the departure of Max Biaggi.
Italian hero Biaggi won his second World Superbike title this year and bowed out at the top, leaving Laverty as the new number one in the factory outfit, where he is joined by teammate Sylvain Guintoli.
Laverty, though, says it will be business as usual next year, although he does concede he will have to brush up on his Italian to get his views across following Biaggi’s retirement.
“In terms of expectations of my performance I don’t feel any more pressure because I know exactly what I want to achieve,” he said.
“But there’s a little bit more pressure because I’ve got to learn the lingo and be more professional on that side of things with Max gone.
“It was good having Max at my side because he spoke to the Italians, but now that I’m the number one guy I need to be more interactive in that way.”
Laverty revealed that although his personal contact with Biaggi was limited, the pair “had no quarrels” and the Toomebridge man reaffirmed his admiration for the veteran Italian’s achievements in the sport.
“I never really bothered much with Max personally and he’s a fairly private character. We just did our own thing but we didn’t have any quarrels,” he said.
“I’ve a lot of respect for him for the world championships he has won.
“Aprilia is truly the only real factory World Superbike team left and I want that to continue and with Max winning the title that has naturally secured that for next season.”
Laverty will celebrate Christmas at home with family and friends over the festive period and he has pledged to let his hair down, a little, despite admitting he finds it hard to completely switch off from being a factory rider.
“When you move to the world championship it changes your train of thought and it does take your full focus really.
“I think there are some people who can never switch off and it almost becomes an illness.
“I’ll keep training and do whatever I have to do but I’ve got to enjoy myself too.”