Eugene Laverty looks increasingly likely to retain his place in the Aspar MotoGP team for 2016 after yesterday’s announcement that American Nicky Hayden will switch to World Superbikes.
Kentucky star Hayden has joined Ten Kate Honda and along with Michael van der Mark will ride the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.
Aspar is strongly rumoured to be switching manufacturer from Honda next season to run Ducati GP14.2 machinery and recent confirmation that Colombian Yonny Hernandez - currently competing in the premier class on a Ducati for Pramac Racing - leant further weight to the story.
With Hayden’s plans now confirmed, it seems Toomebridge man Laverty will retain his seat in Jorge Martinez’s team.
The 29-year-old won the Open class for the first time in his rookie season in the previous MotoGP round at Aragon last month and Laverty is eager to build on his result this weekend at Motegi in Japan, which heralds the start of three fly-away rounds on consecutive weekends, with Phillip Island in Australia and Sepang in Malaysia next up.
“I’m really enjoying being part of the Aspar team and we have a great rapport in the pit box during race weekends, “ said Laverty.
“There are a lot of hard braking areas at Motegi followed by acceleration from slow speed and so the track layout doesn’t necessarily favour us.
“However, we’re on great form coming off the back of our first Open class win last time out at Aragon and confidence is one of the most important factors in keeping that momentum. Of course my aim is to once again fight for the Open class win.”