Laverty identifies key improvement area after Aragon WorldSBK test

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Recent factory BMW man and 2021 BMW RC Squadra Corse BMW satellite WorldSBK rider Eugene Laverty took to the track for three days at Motorland Aragon, with the Irish rider pleased enough with the final day of the test.

He finished seventh fastest overall in among some WorldSBK rivals and some MotoGP KTMs.

“Pretty good day,” Laverty told bikesportnews.com. “We were fortunate with the weather that it’s been nice for all three days. This track we were really not strong last year, so I was happy to test here to work on our weak points. I’m happy. We’ve honestly improved our braking a little step, but still we need more.

“I would always like more test days and the other guys can have advantage where they tested more days than me, but this is life. I will have to think about round one in Aragon.

“The good thing is that I did the test here and the first round is at the same circuit, so it’s going to make us prepared for this round. But I already have one year’s experience on this bike. So it’s a nice thing to be able to arrive and be fast immediately and feel comfortable.”

Further improvements are needed in some areas, but largely to the bike’s dynamics. “Mainly it’s on the chassis side,” said the experienced Laverty. “The electronics guys here in the past twelve months have been a fantastic help. When I first rode the bike, it was very much a rough diamond but the work they did in these past twelve months has been incredible.

Now the bike is very friendly to ride, but on the chassis side, the balance; we need to work. We need to move the weight around because every rider that rides the bike says the main problem is the stopping performance. Whenever we all have the same problem, that has to be the priority.”

Now there will be four BMWs at each WorldSBK track - the official line up of Tom Sykes and Michael van Der Mark, Bonovo MGM rider Jonas Folger and Laverty, in a season where the new M1000RR and its big winglets will make its debut. Will all those extra data collectors help the overall competitiveness, in Laverty’s opinion? Yes.

“That really is critical,” he said, then continued, “I was very happy to see whenever Jonas Folger joined. He’s a rider with experience. Also Michael Van Der Mark who’s been riding a different bike in superbike, so that has really pleased me. It’s so important to have that extra data. It seems Jonas Folger rides his BMW with the same style as I do.

“Tom Sykes is a very unique rider. Tom rides the bike in a different way than the other guys, so I’m happy to have two riders on board alongside me with a conventional style to move the bike in this direction.”

And what about those new winglets? What’s the big difference for Laverty? “I think to really say I’d have to test them on, and off, and that was my plan this winter. But with just three days I didn’t have time to. At some stage I would like to take them off just to understand, not just for wheelie but just in case it changes the character in the corner.

“There’s no point in putting something on and just saying, ‘That’s new. It’s going to be better.’ You have to understand what it does. So I can’t comment unless I take them off again.”