Everything you need to know about the fastest Irishman on two wheels and his rise to prominence in MotoGP.
EUGENE LAVERTY #50
Date of birth: 03/06/86 – Toomebridge – Ireland
First race: Nutts Corner, March 2001
First Grand Prix: 125cc British Grand Prix – 2004
First win: World Supersport – Qatar round – 2009
Last win: WorldSuperbikes – Australia round – 2014
First pole: WorldSupersport – Portugal round – 2009
First fastet lap: WorldSupersport – South Africa round – 2009
First podium: World Supersport – Italy round – 2008
Victories: 25 (12 in Supersport + 13 in Superbikes)
Poles: 8 (6 in Supersport + 2 in Superbikes)
Fastest laps: 11 (6 in Supersport + 5 in Superbikes)
Podiums: 52 (19 in Supersport + 33 in Superbikes)
Best championship finish: World Superbikes runner-up (2013)
Total GP appearances: 181 (1 in 125cc, 29 in 250cc, 29 in Supersport, 100 in Superbikes and 22 in MotoGP)
2002: 125cc British Championship debut
2003: 7th 125cc British Championship
2004: Runner-up 125cc British Championship
2005: 9th British Supersport Championship
2006: 3rd British Supersport Championship
2007: 25th 250cc World Championship (Honda)
2008: 21st 250cc World Championship (Aprilia)
– 21st World Supersport Championship (Yamaha)
2009: Runner-up World Supersport Championship (Honda)
2010: Runner-up World Supersport Championship (Honda)
2011: 4th World Superbike Championship (Yamaha)
2012: 6th World Superbike Championship (Aprilia)
2013: Runner-up World Superbike Championship (Aprilia)
2014: 10th World Superbike Championship (Suzuki)
2015: 22nd MotoGP World Championship (Honda)
Eugene is the second youngest of the six-strong Laverty clan… but only just, as a mere five minutes separate him from his twin brother. Their father was a racer that rubbed shoulders with the likes of legendary Irish icon Joey Dunlop and even though he parked his bike on the birth of his first child, a girl, he never lost his passion for the sport – a passion he passed on to his children.
Eugene was the last of the Lavertys to catch the racing bug and by the age of five he was competing in Irish motocross races on board a Honda QR 50cc, his first bike. Eugene competed in off-road competition up until the age of twelve but with three racing sons to support it was tough for the family to keep them all on two wheels every weekend. When it was his turn to sit a weekend out Eugene would become his brothers’ biggest fan, attending every race and fuelling his burning desire to race.
The switch from dirt to tarmac came in 2001, at the age of fourteen, when he contested the majority of the Irish Championship on a 125cc Honda. In 2002 he made the step up to the British Championship, picking up his first podium, before taking his modest Honda over to Spain to compete alongside the likes of Lorenzo, Bautista and Espargaró. As well as contesting the Spanish Championship in 2003 he also made a handful of appearances on British soil, picking up a first victory at Oulton Park.
His prodigious performances on underpowered machinery caught the attention of Red Bull, who recruited young Laverty as part of a youth development project. With better machinery underneath him he was able to finish as runner-up in the 125cc British Championship, still on a Honda – a factory he would remain faithful to until 2008. A first taste of the world stage came with a Grand Prix wildcard appearance at Donington Park and in 2005 he made the step up to Supersport, again with the support of Red Bull, picking up a podium in his first season. The following year he would fight for the title with none other than two future World Champions in Cal Crutchlow and Tom Sykes, but a broken hand halfway through the season wrecked his chances and he finished the championship in third place.
Finally in 2007 a 250cc World Championship team came knocking but after a disappointing season with LCR, a switch to Bluesens failed to provide Laverty with the means to impress and at the end of the 2008 he took the opportunity to make his mark in the World Supersport Championship, where he secured a ride for the following season. Back with Honda, the 2009 season saw Eugene not only back at the front but fighting for a world title with his old rival Crutchlow, eventually finishing as runner-up.
For much of the 2010 season he looked certain to go one better but despite winning more than half of the races he was denied the title again, this time by a mechanical breakdown at Brno, combined with the consistency of Kenan Sofuoglu. So it was a double Supersport runner-up that made the step up to Superbikes in 2011 with Yamaha, producing an impressive first season to finish level on points with Max Biaggi in third place in the championship. That stunning first season in Superbikes, which included a double victory at Monza, opened the doors to the factory Aprilia team.
His first season on board an intricate machine built around the exacting demands of Biaggi proved to be a difficult transition but in 2013 Laverty and the RSV4 clicked to the tune of nine victories and a championship challenge. In the end he was again forced to settle for the runner-up spot but after finishing the 2013 season with a victory he started 2014 in exactly the same way. After switching to Suzuki over the winter, hopes were high following a race-one win in round one at Phillip Island but sadly a breakdown in race two proved to be more indicative of the fortunes ahead.
Thankfully, a disappointing season did not deny Laverty his lifelong dream and the opportunity he has been forced to wait a long time for. His belated arrival in MotoGP sees this shy Irishman return to the Grand Prix paddock through the front door, as one of the most experienced and adaptable riders around but with youth still on his side. But 2015 was a discreet season for Eugene. His aggression on track is in stark contrast to his calm demeanour off it but beneath it all lies a steely determination to succeed at the very highest level. Away from the track Eugene enjoys life with his fiancee Phillipa in Monaco.
EUGENE LAVERTY #50 – PERSONAL
WEIGHT: 62 kg
HEIGHT: 173 cm
PLACE OF BIRTH: Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
FAVOURITE WOMAN’S NAME: Sheelagh
FAVOURITE BOOK: ‘Inferno’ – Dan Brown
FAVOURITE FILM: I like Tarantino films. Pulp Fiction.
FAVOURITE ACTRESS: Mila Kunis
FAVOURITE ACTOR: Will Ferrell
FAVOURITE SONG, SINGER OR GROUP: I like rock music.
FAVOURITE CAR: I prefer a van to a car so that I can load my motorbikes and bicycles in the back.
FAVOURITE BIKE: I don’t have a licence but I like the idea of a ‘cafe racer’.
FIRST BIKE: Honda QR 50cc motocross
FAVOURITE FOOD: Italian food
FAVOURITE ANIMAL: When I was young we had cats at home.
FAVOURITE COLOR: Fluorescent green.
FAVOURITE NUMBER: 50
FAVOURITE DAY: My double World Superbike win at Monza in 2011
FAVOURITE SEASON: Autumn is very nice in Monaco.
FAVOURITE ANECDOTE: I remember crashing in a motocross race when I was five years old and I got up and continued. I never give up, even when the bike is destroyed, which can sometimes be dangerous so I have to try and control that.
BIGGEST RIVAL: Cal Crutchlow. We fought together in the British championship and again in World Supersport and World Superbikes.
FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION: I like to go skiing in the mountains. I spent some time in the French Alps in 2013, which I loved, and I’ve also been to Austria.
SEA OR MOUNTAIN: Mountain.
FAVOURITE OTHER SPORT: I am a huge fan of Supercross and I follow it closely. I also have a lot of friends who are cyclists so that’s another sport I like.
FAVOURITE SPORTSMAN: Ryan Villopoto
TV, RADIO, PRESS OR INTERNET: TV
MOMENT TO REMEMBER: The first time I rode a road bike.
MOMENT TO FORGET: In 2010 my engine blew up at Brno and I lost the chance to win the World Supersport title.
3 THINGS TO TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND: An electronic book, an ipod and water.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN IF YOU WEREN’T A RIDER?: My father is an engineer so most likely I would have followed in his footsteps. Luckily I have been able to become a motorcycle racer because I’d have been a useless engineer!
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?: Right now I am focused on MotoGP and I want to win races. Later, when I get married, I’d like to have kids.
FAVOURITE CIRCUIT AND WHY: Portimao. It’s like a motocross circuit with so many elevation changes. I also love Phillip Island.