2011 WSB Preview: Yamaha Sterilgarda

February 23, 2011
Matt Davidson
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Danger, adrenaline and competition are what fuel this moto enthusiast. Driven by a spirit for sportsmanship, our racing guru here at MotoUSA can be spotted at finish lines the world over as he delivers the latest battles from the two-wheeled realm.

2011 Yamaha World Superbike Factory Team - Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty
Yamaha Sterilgarda will bring aboard two rookies for the 2011 WSB season with Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty (below).
World Superbike rookie Eugene Laverty had the third-best laptime in the first pre-season test at Portimao.

Yamaha Sterilgarda
Two more World Superbike rookies who will fill-out Yamaha’s grid in the 2011 championship are Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty. Melandri will transition to World Superbike for the first time in his career after participating in MotoGP for the past eight seasons. While not experienced in WSB, the Italian has been competing at a world level for most of his career and has decent results to show for it, including a second-place finish in the 2005 MotoGP Championship. The 28-year-old has been adapting well to his YZF-R1 superbike during pre-season tests and secured the second-fastest lap while testing at Portimao. Overall he has shown steady improvement with the team and is expected to be a strong contender in the series.

Laverty will also join the ranks at Yamaha Sterilgarda after a memorable season in the 2010 World Supersport Championship. The Northern Irishman finished runner-up in the Supersport series with eight victories and another eight podium finishes, and was a major rival with Joan Lascorz toward the end of the championship. During Portimao tests earlier this year Laverty was seen riding near the leading times while settling into his new team. Despite his rookie status, Laverty will be one rider to keep an eye on as he learns the ropes of the premier class.