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ROAD TO RACE

From a distance, and with poor eyesight, you could be forgiven for mistaking a BSB superbike for its street-derived sibling. But that’s where the similarities end.

FEATURE

STREET BIKE VS SUPERBIKE

LAVERTY’S BIKE JUST GETS BETTER THE MORE YOUR EYES FEAST UPON ITS STEALTHY SURREPTITIOUS BEAUTY.

Nothing makes you feel as inadequate as comparing data with a former MotoGP rider and ex-British champion. I’ve just jumped off Michael Laverty’s McAms Yamaha R1, puffing, panting and making animal noises after a session at Cadwell Park. And, according to the data, I was full throttle for 8.8 seconds around a lap of Cadwell – not bad considering its tight and twisty nature. Mlav was pinned for 32 seconds. Every little helps.

I hadn’t ridden a superbike since racing an agricultural Fireblade in BSB in 2009, back when open engine regs and full electronics packages were permitted.

We had some of the best engines – tuned by Chris Mayhew and identical to the HM Plant Hondas of Josh Brookes and Glen Richards – making 220bhp at the rear wheel, but power is nothing without control. While the big teams bragged full Magneti Marelli electronics and had whizz-kids with laptops, we used a very crude HRC system and a GCSE student; a combination that simply didn’t work. It was like a flea riding a dog’s ballbag.

The same shitty sentiment couldn’t be said of Laverty’s R1. As you’d expect from an official outfit, it’s an enthralling and well-sorted ride, yet sorts the men from the boys with a howitzer power delivery and a very remorseless, yet evidently gifted chassis. Just hours after the British Superbike Championship circus had rolled out of Cadwell Park, the McAms squad stayed on site after celebrating their first victory of the season in the hands of James Ellison, and furnished us with Michael Laverty’s race-fresh steed along with a crew chief and technician. We also brought a road-going Yamaha R1M for paralleling purposes.

As moans and groans ooze from every WorldSBK orifice, British Superbikes is surfing a wave of positivity and palpable success in all departments. Michael Laverty is a British champion, proven BSB championship contender and ex-MotoGP rider. Sitting just outside the top ten in the standings shows the strength in depth of the series, and there are more than 10 riders on competitive packages capable of winning.

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About Fast Bikes

Welcome to this October issue , inside ... - Top 50 Used bike our best picks of the 21st century - Next gen street V4 - £100K factory superbike - Race vc Road Yamaha's R1M Takes on R1 BSB Missile - Used buyer's guide Triumph Daytona 675R - £40K Ducati Special - £19K Street bike sensation, etc
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