MotoGP: Eugene Laverty 19th in Australia, confirmed on Ducati for 2016

Eugene Laverty (Aspar Honda) leads team-mate Nicky Hayden, Stefan Bradl (Aprilia) and Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) at Phillip Island.
Eugene Laverty (Aspar Honda) leads team-mate Nicky Hayden, Stefan Bradl (Aprilia) and Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) at Phillip Island.

Eugene Laverty will switch to Ducati machinery in next year’s MotoGP World Championship after being confirmed in the Aspar team for a second season.

Laverty will be team-mates with Yonny Hernandez in 2016 with the news officially confirmed on Saturday.

American star Nicky Hayden’s departure from Jorge Martinez’s team had been announced previously, with the 2006 MotoGP champion moving to World Superbikes with Ten Kate Honda.

On Sunday, Laverty endured a ‘nightmare’ at Phillip Island in Australia on the Open class Honda after suffering extreme grip problems with the rear Bridgestone tyre of the RC213V-RS after his team made an error with the tyre pressure.

The 29-year-old, who won the Open class race for the first time in his rookie season at Aragon in Spain in September, limped home in 19th place.

“It was a disaster. For three laps we were okay and I really thought then that I could do something,” Laverty said.

“I was getting held up by the guys around me. Then I made a mistake in turn two, going wide around Hector Barbera. He was already wide so I got hung out to dry; I lost some places and had to make some back up again. At that point the bike was working really well.

“I was even looking ahead at Scott Redding and those guys, thinking I could go after them,” Laverty added.

“After three laps the grip disappeared and it stayed that way for the whole race. We started with a higher rear pressure than the other guys: it was a real error on our part. There was no need for that because in the first three laps the bike was fantastic. In sector one and sector three I matched my qualifying lap.

“There was no thinking behind it unfortunately. The pressure was just that little bit too high and once it went up I was riding on ice,” explained the Toomebridge man.

“I was just using the front tyre. Once the fuel load went down I started gaining on corner entry but on corner exit I was just drifting.”

Laverty and Colombian rider Hernandez, who is currently part of the Pramac Ducati team, are expected to run Desmosedici GP14.2 machines next year with technical support provided by the Bologna factory.