With Michael Laverty having made the jump to MotoGP from British Superbike the Ulsterman is well placed to talk about the comparison between the world’s leading national Superbike championship and the premier class of motorcycle racing.
Having raced in both American and British Superbikes over the last five years Laverty was a surprise candidate for a MotoGP ride when PBM hired him to ride their all new CRT machine. Laverty however is confident that the competivness of BSB is on a par with MotoGP:
“BSB is unbelievably close to here,” said Laverty. “People think it’s a national championship but you have to battle unbelievably hard to win. The front five in BSB could all come here and do a good job. There’s not a massive difference in the top five riders in BSB and World Superbikes and here in MotoGP. It’s mostly about the team around you and getting best out of yourself.
“All the riders are capable but it’s just about having all the bits around you. Shakey [Byrne], Josh Brookes, Tommy Hill, John Hopkins who was here in GP for years, are all at the level that they could come here and do welln on either a prototype or a CRT bike.”
While the level of competitiveness at the front of the field in BSB may be similar to MotoGP the bikes are quite different. With the prototype riders enjoying a horsepower advantage of approximately 50 bhp the handling characteristics is of a CRT bike can be quite similar to the prototypes. When asked about the differences between the Superbikes that he has previously ridden and his current PBM bike Laverty said:
“It’s quite different in how much more rigid it is in the chassis and the tyres,” commented the 31 year old. “But in engine wise and electronics wise there’s not a lot of difference. They require a different style of riding so you have to try and forget your old habits from the Superbike and just trying to ride teh bike the way they want to be ridden.
“Trusting the front end and running into the corners and carrying a lot more lean angle than the Superbike and just trusting that it’s going to stick. The Bridgestone front tyre is very stiff and it likes a lot of force into the front tyre. If your setup isn’t allowing you to put that force through the tyre you aren’t generating the heat and you dont get the grip. It’s just understanding how to work their tyres at their best. They’re not overly complex but it’s difficult. It’s a nice bike to ride but it’s hard to get the maximum out of it.”