Eugene Laverty’s wait for a full factory bike inside the WorldSBK paddock is now over as he had his first chance to run the official S1000RR BMW on day one of Jerez testing.
All good so far, as he finished tenth fastest, but with one day more of testing to complete. And unlike the others, he was not at Motorland Aragon for the first tests of the winter season.
“These were my first laps on the bike. It feels a little bit like when I got on the Suzuki back in 2014. Back on the in-line four. I have been on V4s for five years so it is has got a different characteristic,” Laverty told bikesportnews.com.
“It has taken me a bit to get used to that this morning. It is nice because I jumped on the other bike (the spare bike) at the end of the day and it has more of the upgrades that Tom has brought over the year. The other one is more standard.
So the engine was better, the swingarm was better, little details like that so it was nice – but I want to get a feel for the actual bike and then try the upgrades so I can really understand them. I did my fastest lap on that bike at the end.
“Right away, after just two exits I went quick. So a good base to start from tomorrow, and work to do tonight. We will go and sit down and go through things corner by corner. There is a bit of work to so on the electronics side.”
Returning to the SMR team, now on full factory BMWs rather than semi-supported Aprilias, Laverty felt quite at home in the Jerez garage. “It is like coming home, isn’t it,” said Laverty about there being so many old faces around. “Marcus was my crew chief so many years ago and he has remained a close friend for a lot of years.
“He is always full of enthusiasm too, which is nice in the garage. He is excited to come back to WorldSBK. I think he enjoys the atmosphere here, more relaxed isn’t it. It is a nice environment here. With the BMW, a lot of them are new to me but they are all a good bunch of boys.”
Laverty seems just as happy to get himself back into a full factory effort for this season, especially useful as there are so many tough competitors around again.
“Being in a factory team is not something that I was sure of until I came back, as it was the same team that I was with a few years ago. Today is the first time that I have really got to understand that this is working with BMW. We did not have a factory team, but now this is BMW factory support inside the team. This is a proper effort.
“I never had two bikes in testing at any stage last year, I only had one. So it was pretty cool to be able to hop off one bike at the end of the day, at half five, and then try another bike. I thought. “Ah no, things won’t be right” but when you have good mechanics like these guys, everything was the same.”