Michael Laverty has expressed his delight at being back with the Tyco BMW team for the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike season.
The 36-year-old returns to Tyco BMW following a disappointing season with the McAMS Yamaha team, which saw him finish outside of the showdown places.
Laverty spent two successful years on the BMW and the new BT Sport pundit told The Checkered Flag that he feels right back at home:
“It feels good – very good in fact. I switched after two years with Tyco BMW to the Yamaha team and we managed to get it right for the very last round of the season, as is quite typical sometimes. I jumped back on the Tyco BMW last October and it felt like a comfortable shoe; I just slotted straight in there, back to what I knew and the team have developed a little bit over the winter.
“I had my first test just this past weekend and it felt good so yeah, I’m feeling really positive. It’s going to be a busy season, I’m racing with Tyco BMW in BSB, I’m racing for a BMW team, I’m not quite decided on which team, in World Endurance, and then I’m doing the six-round BT Sport job. So they’re keeping me on my toes, but I love being busy and I love being around motorbikes so it’s the ideal scenario for me.”
The last time Laverty rode for Tyco BMW he enjoyed podiums and race wins, and he believes that if he and the team can push their rivals hard at their weaker circuits, they can be in the title picture. He said:
“The Ducati and the Kawasaki, in superbike form, are the top bikes so beating them on a consistent basis is really difficult. If we can win on our strong tracks and fight with them on our weaker tracks then I think we’ll be in the fight. The showdown format allows for multiple racers to challenge.
“Our main goal at the minute is to get that consistency and secure that spot in the showdown at the end and then who knows. It’s all to play for.”
The last two seasons have seen veteran riders Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam battling out for the title, with the former coming out on top on both occasions. 2017 also saw the return of Josh Brookes, who was still in with a fighting chance going into the final round.
Laverty sees these three men as the title favourites, but admits it’s hard to predict who else will be challenging for those all important showdown places. The Irishman explained:
“It’s hard to choose only six or seven riders as it’s such a broad field of riders. I see three favourites; you’ve got Shakey Bryne on the Ducati, Leon Haslam on the Kawasaki and Josh Brookes on the Yamaha – those are the top three. Then after that you’ve got any pick of 10 – 15 riders.
“Myself and my team mate, Christian Iddon, and Peter Hickman are three strong BMW riders and then you’ve got the two Honda riders of Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halleran. You’ve got Jake Dixon who really started to show some promise last year on the Kawasaki, whilst James Ellison is on another top rider on a Yamaha – the list goes on!”
The first official BSB test of the year takes place on Tuesday 20 March at Donington Park. The season then gets underway at the same circuit, over the Easter weekend (March 31 – April 2).