Eugene Laverty has secured his World Superbike future after signing a deal to join the Go Eleven team on a Ducati, while ousted Barni rider Xavi Fores will move to British Superbikes with Honda.
Laverty was left out in the cold when Shaun Muir Racing confirmed its factory tie-up with BMW, announcing 2013 champion Tom Sykes and reigning Superstock 1000 champion Markus Reiterberger as its line-up.
The former Aspar MotoGP rider's options appeared slim, with even a possible World Supersport return rumoured.
However, Laverty will now line-up at Go Eleven – which fielded perennial midfield runner Roman Ramos this year – aboard the new Ducati V4 Panigale, and believes the support from Bologna will allow him to challenge for his first wins in the series since '14.
“I'm delighted to join Team Go Eleven to ride the new Ducati Panigale V4R in 2019,” said Laverty, who ended a season blighted by injury eighth in the standings aboard the Aprilia.
“The past five weeks have been a stressful period, so it's great to secure a competitive seat in the end.
“The support from Ducati is reassuring and I'm confident we will have a package to fight for victory next season.
“Thank you to [team manager] Denis Sacchetti and everyone at Team Go Eleven for putting their trust in me.”
Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
Former factory-backed Ducati World Superbike rider Fores will make his BSB debut in '19 after signing a deal to join the official Honda team.
Fores has raced WSBK full-time since the '16 season with the Barni squad aboard a customer Panigale, and began receiving increased factory support from Ducati last year.
The Spaniard enjoyed a strong '18 campaign, scoring four podiums on his way to seventh in the standings on 230 points, comfortably finishing the year as top independent rider.
Despite his excellent form, Fores was unable to secure a ride in WSBK for '19 as Barni was unable to stump up the funds for two bikes, while Ducati title sponsor Aruba allegedly forced him out in favour of former Superstock champion Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
As WSBK options dried up, Fores expressed an interest in BSB several times on Twitter, with his one-year deal to join Havier Beltran's squad confirmed on Saturday.
Fores said of his new deal: “I am excited to come to England and race in British Superbikes. I have always watched the racing and it looks like a fantastic series with a great fan base.
“To have the opportunity to race in the UK and ride new circuits excites me and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“Thank you to Honda for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”
Fores will join Andrew Irwin, who deputised for injured five-time BSB champion Shane Byrne at Paul Bird Motorsport this year, aboard the official CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Earlier in the week, Althea – which will run HRC's WSBK effort next year with Moriwaki – confirmed it will run a third Honda for former STK1000 runner Alessandro Delbianco.