Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty reflect on 2020 and look ahead to their respective 2021 plans with the pair heading in different directions
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship proved to be a season of ups and downs for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team as it managed to secure two pole positions throughout 2020 but were unable to convert some strong Tissot Superpole results into high-scoring race results.
Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty both claimed a pole position throughout the season with Sykes on pole for the season-opening Australian Round, while Laverty started from the front at a wet Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the French Round; Sykes joining him on the front row. Sadly for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, both riders were out of the race at Turn 1 following a collision with Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team).
At the season-ending Estoril Round, Sykes qualified in 10th with Laverty and 14th with the best result coming courtesy of Tom Sykes with two tenth-place finishes, while Laverty took two 12th place finishes in his final race for the squad; the Irishman will make way for the incoming Michael van der Mark for next season.
Expanding on the 2020 season and looking ahead to 2021, Sykes said: “It’s the end of a difficult season and hopefully there’s been a lot learnt from it. We can look to start our testing programme and look towards next year because there are certain fundamental parts on the bike we obviously need to address. For me it’s been difficult. The way that I’m able to ride the bike in some areas of the track is already at a very high level but in certain areas we’re certainly lacking. That’s the main focus for this winter.
“This weekend has just been proof of that. We’ve done a lot with different setups. I came here, put my marker down and we’ve not been able to go much faster throughout the weekend which shouldn’t be the case. Bit of work to do but we’ll try to put it all together in these winter months for next season. 2021, to win races, for sure. That’s my target. My motivation and my ambition is not to come here and not win races. I hope certain people in the garage are sharing the same goals as me. That’s the impression I get but we have to react faster.”
Laverty will leave the Shaun Muir Racing-run team after just one season on BMW machinery. Describing his 2020 season, Laverty said: “We didn’t make a lot of progress in the later rounds up until Magny-Cours. Estoril was a track that wasn’t well suited to our bike, but we have to look to a few rounds ago, even at Catalunya we had a really good race result there. Unfortunately, it was quite a short season with just eight rounds, I’d like to have had more races.”
Continuing to talk about his plans for 2021, Laverty confirmed he would like to continue on a BMW next season, with the potential for a satellite team coming onto the WorldSBK grid. He said: “The season is over already and time to start thinking about 2021. Right now, I’m not sure what beckons in 2021. We’ve done a lot of work with this bike: some good, some bad. We’ve got a clear understanding of the direction the project needs to go in. I’d like to continue on a BMW in 2021 but, right now, it’s all up in the air.”
You can relive the best moments of the 2020 season and get ready for 2021 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!