Another big name in WorldSBK’s past decade and more is set to leave the fray, with the announcement that Eugene Laverty will stop being a rider for the Bonovo BMW team at the end of this year and become a joint team owner and rider coach.
Laverty would clearly have liked to have got back to the kind of form that saw him win 12 WorldSBK races but circumstances have conspired to see him stop as of next year.
“It wasn’t something I was thinking for next year, initially,” Laverty told bikesportnews.com. “Jurgen and Michael said to me, whenever the time comes, it was a proposal. Things were going good at Aragon and I said, I want to have a few more years at it yet.
“I need to turn this ship around, because the last two years have been pretty shit, haven’t they, results-wise. So, I wanted to have another go at it but I have to be realistic and realise an opportunity like this doesn’t come around very often. So, we spoke again with Jurgen and I said, ‘Yeah. Let’s give it a go for next year. I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity. It doesn’t come along very often, does it.”
Eugene being in his 30s, and a current rider, should help the Bonovo management stay current.
“It’s a transition period, these few years. That’s why it wasn’t immediate for next year. So, I have a few years to kind of learn the ropes.”
Is this a significant thing for Laverty, money-wise?
“The main thing is what Jurgen has done establishing this team, because he’s a retired businessman with a lot of success, and he’s done this as a fun thing, but he’s doing it right, isn’t he? He’s got a lot of connection where he has set sponsor agreements in place for a lot of years into the future.
“That was a big part of it for me. Mainly just sponsorship agreements for a lot of years in the future. The sponsorship agreements that he already has on paper from partners that he works with in business. Always after racing I wanted to be involved in running a team.
“I always say talent needs to prevail in this sport, so that’s motivating me in the future. Actually having a project like this that’s got funding, that’s way I couldn’t say no to it. It is a great team. Jurgen has set it up and Michael already has the team in place. The money is there, and that’s the key. You need money to run a team successfully.”
Who replaces Laverty is the next question, and that process is advanced it seems.
“They have been speaking already about riders. I made some suggestions as well, but there’s already I think a preferred choice. I think the talks were already moving lately. It will be a good option I think, but I don’t know how long it’s going to be.”
Next year Laverty will get involved properly in his new role, but for now, it’s summer break then more racing. “Next year, yes. For me, I still have to concentrate on racing. I want to chuck this first shitty half of the season out of the way and try to finish this half of the season as a new year, almost.”