Michael Laverty will return to the MCE British Superbike Championship in 2015 after signing a deal to join Philip Neill’s Tyco BMW squad and partner Tommy Bridewell on all-new S1000RRs in what could be one of the strongest teams next season.
Laverty, who recently married Chaz Davies’ sister Jodi Lee, will have his work cut out in a new team with new machinery and virtually no data, but he is motivated after spending two years without any hope of a podium spot in MotoGP.
“It’s something I’m actually really excited about; I’ve done two years in MotoGP, learnt a lot but never had the opportunity to be competitive. The Endurance race I did last year at Le Mans put me on the podium and it made me realise how much I miss being competitive and having the spoils of standing on the podium and being able to win races so I am excited to be back and in a position to do that,” said Laverty, speaking to bikesportnews.com.
“With all the changes within the team, switching to BMW, it’s quite an exciting project. I think it should be a really strong one. Kiyo proved last year what the BMW is capable of and the 2015 model looks to be a step up again. I’ve ticked all the boxes, Phillip put a really good package on the table for me and I am really happy to be back to BSB and hopefully I’ll be in that title hunt next year. I believe I will be and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it now in the New Year.”
Testing should begin soon for the team, but with brand-new machinery and a lack of data Laverty will have to put in some serious miles before the season starts.
“It does give you a bit of concern but that’s where you have to go to work on testing and hopefully get a good base set-up. You could use the old excuse that it’s going to be a new bike, we need data and use the showdown to our advantage, slowly build up to it but I don’t want to do that.
“Obviously, Byrne is back on the Kawasaki that he has ridden for the past three years so he has all the settings for every track. I think we will have our work cut out coming out at that level immediately, but we have to work hard at it. With the new road bike each year, BMW seem to take what they learn from the racetrack and put it into the base model. Having a look around the actual road bike 1000RR, it looks like any superbike I have ridden in the past couple of years. It starts at a really good level so I’m hoping we will be in the ballpark from the word go.
“I am under no illusions that it’s a task ahead. It is a massive change for the team and for me, first time on a BMW. The Buildbase team has years’ worth of data and the TAS team has nothing so it is going to be starting from scratch. I am looking forward to working with Stewart Johnstone, very clever guy and his reputation precedes him so I am looking forward to getting involved with him and hopefully we can come out of the blocks fast right from the word go – that’s the plan.”