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Gregorio Lavilla profile

By Dan Moakes
May 29 2006

Gregorio Lavilla
nationality • Spanish
born • 29 September 1973
grand prix début • 1995
world superbike début • 1996

Gregorio Lavilla may not be one of the big names in the sport, but he has been a consistently competitive Superbike racer, mostly riding the best of the four-cylinder machines during the dominant days of Ducati’s V-twin models. But the tables were turned in 2005, when he found himself drafted into the British Airwaves squad, with a 999 capable of winning races against the best of the HRC Hondas. Despite no knowledge of seven tracks in the series, he quickly established himself as one of the best out there, winning many fans with his riding. The British Superbike crown seemed like just reward for his years of effort

Gregorio Lavilla - photo by Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

1991
Made racing début in Spanish 75cc competition - two races

1992
2nd in Spanish 125cc championship - title contender but final race cancelled; Catalan 125cc class champion

1993
Spanish Sport Production Champion; Spanish 250cc championship - first victory at Calafat

1994
Spanish Supersport Champion; Spanish Sport Production 750cc (Superbike) Champion - both with Folch Yamaha

1995 Mx Onda-S.S.P. Comp., number 21 Honda
Gregorio made his début as a full-time privateer in the 250cc world championship, qualifying 20th in Germany, and scoring a point in both Australia and the Netherlands
Also scored podium finishes in the Spanish 250cc championship

1996
Spanish 600cc Thunderbike series, with Yamaha Folch - won three of the six races; 11th in European 600cc Thunderbike Trophy, with Yamaha Folch; World Superbike wildcard with the number 31 Yamaha - 11th and 12th at Albacete

1997
2nd in German Superbike championship, with Ducati - several race wins; World Superbike wildcard at Donington, Hockenheim and Albacete - best result of seventh, 18 points

1998 De Cecco Racing, number 35 Ducati
Now a Ducati SP privateer in World Superbikes, Lavilla emerged as a true contender when leading in the wet at Albacete, and ultimately finishing third. He repeated this result at Kyalami in the dry, and wound up twelfth overall, with 83.5 points
Also raced as 500cc Grand Prix substitute at the Sachsenring, finishing 11th with the number 39 MoviStar Pons Honda

1999 Kawasaki Racing Team, number 6 Kawasaki
Graduating to a full works ride with the Kawasaki ZX-7RR, Gregorio did well enough when he finished races - three sixths, a fifth, and fourths at both Albacete and the Nürburgring. But eight no-scores offset these performances, and were in contrast to 21 top six results for team leader Akira Yanagawa. 156 points still placed him eighth overall in the series, but Yanagawa scored twice as many

2000 Kawasaki Racing Team, number 6 Kawasaki
Lavilla took a step forward with the ZX-7RR in 2000, but was hampered by a pre-season wrist injury. Then a broken pelvis, sustained at Monza, kept him out of the next four meetings. His return included a best result of second at Oschersleben, and an overall score of 133 was good for tenth this time. Without the injuries, this might have been more like seventh, although Yanagawa was fifth

2001 Kawasaki Racing Team, number 6 Kawasaki
By 2001 the green 750cc four-cylinders were losing ground in the face of the various V-twin machines, seven of which finished ahead of Yanagawa and Lavilla. This time Gregorio matched his partner’s performances, and he was third twice - missing another through a yellow flag penalty - fourth twice, fifth once, and sixth three times. 166 points meant tenth overall, with Yanagawa on 170 with the other ZX-7RR

2002 Alstare Suzuki Corona, number 10 Suzuki
Kawasaki opted for a completely new rider line-up in 2002, as Yanagawa concentrated on developing their MotoGP bike, but Lavilla found a new home in Superbike with the Suzuki GSX-R750 Y in a one man team on Michelin tyres. He therefore found himself racing against Chris Walker, on the Kawasaki, for 750 honours. The Spaniard scored regularly, but the dominant twins meant he was usually around seventh or eighth - but with a fifth and a sixth at two of the Italian tracks. 130 points meant tenth overall

2003 Team Alstare Suzuki, number 10 Suzuki
New rules meant that the four-cylinder machines could now challenge the twins at the 1000cc limit, albeit with air restrictors. With the Japanese factories opting out of the series, joined by Aprilia, Gregorio’s semi-works Dunlop-shod GSX-R1000 was left as the sole opponent to a group of fast Ducatis. He proved his worth in some spectacular rides, looking a potential winner at times. Victory eluded him in the end, and there were a couple of crashes, but 19 results in the top six included four fourths, four thirds, and second places at Sugo, Monza and Silverstone. He started from the front row three times, and also recorded three fastest laps on the way to fifth overall - close behind Ducati mounted James Toseland and Régis Laconi. He scored 256 points altogether

2004 Team Suzuki MotoGP, number 32 Suzuki
World Superbike rule changes, such as the Pirelli-only tyre situation, led to even less manufacturer representation in 2004. Suzuki withdrew, but rewarded Lavilla’s efforts by appointing him as test and reserve rider for the MotoGP team. He rode the GSV-R at four meetings, qualifying 16th in Australia, but scored no points
He also got to race the GSX-R1000 again, filling in on Yukio Kagayama’s number 71 Rizla Suzuki at Thruxton, as back up man to British Superbike points leader John Reynolds. Despite a brush with the team leader in race two, he took fourth and third places

Gregorio Lavilla 2005 - photo by Raceline Photography
Gregorio Lavilla, Airwaves Ducati, 999 F04 © Raceline

2005 Airwaves Ducati, number 36 Ducati
It looked like being another year on the sidelines for Gregorio, but then Reynolds broke his leg in a pre-season testing accident, and the Spaniard was lined up to fill in at the first round. ‘JR’ recovered enough fitness to race at Brands, but Lavilla was now available to take over the GSE Racing Ducati - vacated by James Haydon with a hand injury. Podium results at Brands were enough to earn the ride full-time, and the Spaniard quickly emerged as a true contender - his innovative overtaking moves on a variety of unknown tracks earning respect and admiration. 22 podiums included seven victories, and 461 points rewarded him with the BSB crown at his first attempt


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