Tom Sykes re-signs with BMW for 2020 WorldSBK

Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty are officially confirmed as forming BMW Motorrad WorldSBK's rider line-up for the 2020 WorldSBK season

Tom Sykes - BMW WorldsSBK Motorrad

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK has formally confirmed Tom Sykes will remain with the team for the 2020 World Superbike Championship season, where he will be joined by Eugene Laverty.

The 2013 WorldSBK champion joined BMW at the start of the 2019 WorldSBK campaign after nine successful seasons with Kawasaki, which yielded 34 wins and a top four spot in the overall classification for seven consecutive years.

Heading up BMW’s renewed factory-backed WorldSBK effort with the latest generation BMW S1000RR, though the new machine has struggled for consistency, Sykes has already achieved the bike’s first pole position and three podiums.

Though it was always anticipated Sykes would be riding again in 2020, this confirmation means BMW has pinned down its 2020 rider line-up after last month’s announcement that Laverty would join the Shaun Muir Racing-run squad.

“I’m very excited and proud to be continuing in to the 2020 season with the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team,” Sykes said. “After such a successful year so far with the all new BMW S 1000 RR, which is still very early in its development gives me great motivation moving forward. 

“I really enjoy the development part and we are certainly moving in a strong way. Of course, with the support from the whole of the team and the prestigious BMW brand my expectations for the 2020 season will certainly move higher and back to where I feel most natural. 

“I will also take this moment to welcome Eugene on-board, I am looking forward to having him as a team mate for 2020."

Tom Sykes - BMW WorldSBK

Tom Sykes finds a new lease of career at BMW

BMW may have gone to the effort of writing a press release to confirm Sykes was remaining with BMW for 2020, but in reality there were little or no doubts about its line-up after Laverty got the nod to replace Markus Reiterberger.

Whilst it is unusual to see Sykes in anything other than green, the move to BMW has arguably been a breath of fresh air for the Yorkshireman and Sykes – despite bemoaning some of the more average results early on in the year – is now seemingly relishing the underdog role.

His pole position at Donington Park shows Sykes’ skill at getting the tyres in the correct operating window hasn’t changed, but the S1000RR appears to look after them too which allows him to push harder for longer.

More importantly for Sykes, whereas the Kawasaki developed away from him to accommodate the smoother Jonathan Rea, he has the chance to have the fresh BMW S1000RR moulded into his fairly unique style. 

Tom Sykes - BMW WorldsSBK Motorrad

Can BMW challenge Kawasaki’s WorldSBK dominance?

For now, the BMW S1000RR is lacking in straight-line speed as the manufacturer instead focuses on getting the base setting right, though Sykes’ second on the grid at Portimao – with its long home straight – shows the power gap is shortening.

Moreover, BMW is already exceeding its own objectives. The plan was originally to take a year out in 2019 for development but BMW were convinced to rush the bike to the start line in Australia in order to develop the bike in race conditions ahead of a push for wins in 2020.

It is for this reason that Kawasaki and Ducati have a lot of reason to fear BMW, which has taken notable strides already. Much of this can be attributed to its relationship with Shaun Muir Racing, which brings a wealth of Superbike experience – something BMW lacked first time around in 2009 with its in-house effort – as the manufacturer pours in the money.

With new models coming from Yamaha and Honda, plus a rumoured big update from Kawasaki, BMW is also slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding its 2020 machine. Plus, it’s BMW… and BMW rarely lose in anything it has entered.