Baz makes WorldSBK return with Bonovo action BMW alongside Laverty at Jerez test

Friday, 17 December 2021 09:11 GMT

The expanded Bonovo action team got on track in Spain to conclude their first test with Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty

Bonovo action BMW Racing Team took to the track at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the first time as a two-rider line-up in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship as Loris Baz made his return to the Championship. He was joined on track in southern Spain by Irishman Eugene Laverty, embarking on his third season as a works BMW rider.

Baz is returning to a WorldSBK after a year competing in the United States and on a BMW machine in WorldSBK for the first time since 2018, when he rode the BMW S 1000 RR which was replaced in the Championship in 2020. It was therefore his first taste of the BMW M 1000 RR with his new team. Baz completed 214 laps across the three days, posting a best time 1’40.125s as he and his crew looked to make adjustments to the bike.

Explaining his thoughts on his full-time return to WorldSBK action, Baz said: “It has been tough, but I did not expect it to be easy anyway. It was really nice to be back on a race bike at all after three months off and starting to work with the BMW, trying to learn the bike and also using the experience that I had here from the last race on another bike. I was trying to make a good comparison and trying to understand how this machine works. The goal was to be as efficient as possible. We did a lot of laps; I think more than 200 in those three days, and we were working with the electronics mainly. I tested some new parts, that BMW brought. We did not get to try the latest spec of the new engine unfortunately, but we will have it at the next test. We got some clear ideas, and we can work on this now until we are back on track. If you read the comments of the riders after these tests, everybody is always happy and think they can win. I am not like this. I am not fully satisfied about our speed and the feeling with the bike, but I am really happy about the work we have done.”

Laverty helped develop the M 1000 RR before it was introduced for racing and will embark on his third season in WorldSBK in BMW machinery after joining the factory team in 2020, before a switch to the satellite RC Squadra Corse outfit for 2021. Both Laverty and Baz have spent time at the Bonovo factory but were able to get back on the bike, with Laverty posting a best lap time of 1’40.397s after completing 209 timed laps across the three days.

Reflecting on the test, Laverty said: “The first test days with the team have been very positive. I felt comfortable on the bike immediately after the first couple of exits on day one. I feel good in braking which is an area I am always working on. I am happy with the progress we are making. There is still work to do to improve our turning in the long corners compared to the other BMW riders but I am happy that we are right there in the mix. There is a really good atmosphere in the box, I get on very well with Loris. He is a fast guy and that’s important, to have a fast teammate to push you. We work together well, and all the guys are experienced as well. It’s a great crew and I think we have a good year ahead of us.”

Michael Galinski, Team Manager at Bonovo action BMW Racing Team, added: “It has been the first test for the new season and the first time for us to be at the racetrack with the big team. We have a lot of new people with us, also the riders are partly new for us. Of course, we have known both for many years. Loris has already raced for our team and I have also known Eugene for quite some time. Both did a great job at the test. But not only that, it was also important for me to gel with the new members as a team and to get used to each other. That worked very well. The collaboration with SMR and Bonovo action also works very well. There are always a lot of things to try and when time allows, we share this between us. The test has been very positive in all aspects, we are also happy with the lap times. But we still have some things to find and work to do.”

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