WSB

Eugene Laverty makes debut in BMW 2020 WorldSBK colours

BMW WorldSBK Motorrad presents its refreshed rider line-up for the 2020 WorldSBK season with Eugene Laverty joining Tom Sykes

Eugene Laverty has made his debut in BMW colours at the 2019 EICMA show alongside Tom Sykes as the German manufacturer presented its 2020 WorldSBK effort with the BMW S1000RR.

The Irishman joins Sykes for what will be the BMW factory’s second season with the new S1000RR, which showed flashes of impressive form during the mid-part of the season, picking up a pole position at Donington Park and four podiums in total.

Though this will be his first time on BMW machinery in WorldSBK, it nonetheless marks Laverty’s return to Shaun Muir Racing, which runs the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK effort, having raced Aprilia RSV4s for the team in 2017 and 2018.

The 2019 WorldSBK season saw him compete with the privateer Team Goeleven Ducati, though his season was hampered by wrist injuries sustained at Imola Nonetheless, a return to factory machinery gives him confidence for the year ahead.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity from BMW for 2020 and the faith that BMW has put in me,” the ex-MotoGP rider said. “My aim is to repay with some race wins and I know that the bike is capable of that after the debut season that already saw the RR on the podium several times. I hope I can add to that on 2020.”

BMW: The wildcard of the 2020 WorldSBK season

While the BMW S1000RR won’t be the newest Superbike on the grid now that Yamaha and Honda are bringing fresh sharpened weapons for the 2020 WorldSBK season, there is a sense the German firm will be one to watch next year.

BMW had originally planned to spend the 2019 season testing behind closed doors but were persuaded to instead focus on developing the new S1000RR in competition, a move that revealed the bike’s evident flaws, namely being underpowered and chewing its tyres over a race distance.

However, by stacking itself up against the opposition, BMW now knows the areas it needs to improve and judging by the dip in results from the final rounds of the season, shows it has already begun developing its 2020 machine earlier than its rivals.

Indeed, if the BMW project was not quite extracting 100% of its performance in 2019, it still showed some impressive flashes of performance in the hands of Sykes, not least his pole position at Donington Park and run of good results in the mid-season period.

In short, there is more to come on all fronts and with the added benefit of experience from Laverty, the BMW WorldSBK team should be one to watch when the season gets underway in Australia in February 2020.

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