BMW WorldSBK new kid Eugene Laverty spend the final days of European pre-season testing working like a test rider to get the S1000RR’s electronics in a good place before flying to Phillip Island and believes the bike’s horsepower is now where it needs to be.
The Irishman was surprised how lively the bike when we he first got on it last year and work done over the winter break has seen an amount of progress that was unexpected for the Toomebridge rider.
“It went a lot better than I expected, honestly. I knew they were going to work on the bike over the couple of months but I didn’t expect the progress to be that quick,” Laverty told bikesportnews.com.
“She was a bit lively at the first test and I was a bit surprised at that because I knew the bike was good in terms of turn-in and stuff.
“As a rival, the things you see on track ticked all the boxes for me but you don’t know what’s happening until you properly ride so I was surprised by how lively it was.”
Over the four days at Jerez and Portimao, Laverty worked on getting the traction control values right in the wet and semi-dry conditions before being able to go for laptimes in Portugal on the last day.
“At Jerez with the weather, we just worked away and took two valuable days in and out of the pitlane, did the test rider duties. It was hard work because in the wet with the power and traction control as it was, I never knew what I was going to get. I had some moments.
“We knew after those two days the progress we had made was pretty good. At the end of Jerez, we had a semi-dry track so we got to OK it then.
“t Portimao, we did some fine tuning on the first day and then the second day we were playing with the chassis a little bit but also pushing on with the laptimes.
“We spent most time working on the traction control as there is a lot of power at the bottom and that may have been more noticeable for me coming from a different manufacturer rather than Tom who had been riding it all year and maybe hadn’t noticed it getting progressively more like that.
“Then we knew what we had to work on and the TC came on leaps and bounds. Now I think we are in range of the other guys. I’d like to improve deceleration. The bike doesn’t shut down as much as I’d like it to in the final part of braking.”
The bike’s horsepower, or lack of, was the talking point for all of 2019 but now Laverty believes there is enough to be competitive with the pack.
“In a straight line, it seemed to be going fairly OK but at Portimao, the speed trap is in the braking area, at Jerez it all depends on how you get on to the back straight. In terms of horsepower, I think we are OK but it’s not something I was worried about.
“I think it was being focused on last year because they started with the stock engine but it’s much more in range now.”