British 125GP Championship runner-up Eugene Laverty will be competing in the 2005 British Supersport Championship on the new Honda CBR600RR. The 18-year-old took four 125GP wins in his first full season of racing in the UK on his Red Bull Rookies Honda RS125.
Laverty undoubtedly proved that he has the ability to succeed at the highest level of the sport. The young Ulstermans progression within the team structure will provide him with the necessary support that he requires to fulfil his obvious potential.
The Red Bull Honda Racing team will be preparing Laverty for his first season in the ultra-competitive Supersport series after his debut in the class at a non-championship race at Castle Combe in September. The 2005 specification CBR600RR follows on from its predecessor which dominated the series in 2003-04 with back-to-back champion Karl Harris.
Red Bull Rookies Honda will continue to offer one young rider the opportunity of competing on a RS125 in the 2005 British 125GP Championship. Laverty’s success has shown the value and importance attached to this position. As in 2004, the Red Bull Rookies Honda recruitment process will revolve around a selection procedure at a British circuit – details of this will be revealed shortly.
Laverty will be joined in Red Bull Honda Racing colours by his existing team-mate and fellow Ulsterman Jonathan Rea, who missed the second half of his debut Supersport season through injury. The 17-year-old Ballyclare rider broke his left femur at Knockhill in July and is still on the road back to full fitness. Rea is hoping to begin testing again in the new year.
Neil Tuxworth, Honda Racing’s Race Team Manager commented: "Eugene deserves his chance to progress into Supersport with the team after an excellent year in the 125GP class. We’ll be hoping to find a similar talent for Red Bull Rookies Honda in 2005 when the selection procedure begins next month."
These views were echoed by Red Bulls Motorsport Manager, Linda Pelham, who said: "I’m delighted with the structure that Honda Racing has provided us with for next season. Any young rider hoping to reach the top of the sport can see how we have helped Jonathan and Eugene to climb up the ladder. While these two young riders will be competing in Red Bull Honda Racing colours, the rookies concept will be carried on with our continued support of the 125GP class."