Belfast Telegraph

Ulster aces Michael Laverty, Alastair Seeley and William Dunlop aiming to rule the roads with BMW power

By Paul Lindsay

After months of speculation it's finally official. Moneymore based TAS Racing - after 14 consecutive seasons with Suzuki GB - will spearhead BMW's official effort both in British championship and on the International Road Racing scene in 2015.

More importantly for local fans, is the inclusion of three local riders in Michael Laverty, Alastair Seeley and William Dunlop in Philip and Hector Neill's all-new Tyco BMW line-up.

"It really is a great honour for TAS Racing to be chosen by BMW to spearhead their racing efforts in 2015," said Tyco BMW team manager Philip Neill.

"Everyone involved has been very supportive in helping us put together the correct package. And even though our agreement is with BMW UK, the support we have received from their counterparts in Germany is already very encouraging."

Speaking of his revised line-up for next season, Neill was in buoyant mood: "We put a lot of thought into our rider choices for 2015 and as always the goal is to win races both in British championship and also at international level on the roads..

"We fully expect to be championship contenders in British Superbike and the National Superstock class next season racing BMW's S1000RR, and on the roads I've every confidence William Dunlop and Guy Martin will also benefit from riding top class Tyco BMW machinery."

Laverty, who is currently honeymooning in Hawaii, will return from two seasons in MotoGP to partner Englishman Tommy Bridewell - the current BSB number three - in next season's British Superbike Championship.

And the Toomebridge lad believes the experience he has derived from motorcycling's premier class, will stand him in good stead for a full-on title assault next season.

"I'm delighted to be back in the TAS Racing fold for 2015, this time with a new manufacturer in BMW behind us," said Laverty.

"I'm very motivated about my move back to BSB. I've spent the last two seasons in MotoGP and feel I'm a much stronger rider thanks to that experience.

"I've really missed not being on a machine capable of delivering wins and podiums, so I'm already daydreaming about the battles ahead with Shakey Byrne and Co. next season."

On the road racing scene both William Dunlop and Guy Martin have been retained with the duo carrying the hopes of the German manufacturer at the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix. But signing Carrick's Alastair Seeley is a masterstroke by Philip Neill.

Seeley will ride BMW's ultra-fast S1000RR in the National Superstock series, a title he won back in 2009 with TAS Racing. And when the Vauxhall International North West 200 comes around in May, the prospect of seeing the 12-time winner on German machinery is a mouth-watering prospect.

Maverick TV celebrity and part time truck mechanic Guy Martin had hinted in the media that he would forego the Isle of Man TT next year if he was forced to ride Suzuki machinery in 2015, so he's as excited as anyone at the change of manufacturer at TAS Racing.

Never one to mince his words, Martin said: "Moving to BMW machinery is the reason I'm still racing next year and not retiring. I'll always give it my all and to be with a quality manufacturer like BMW is mega.

"TAS are the best team I've ever ridden for; they get me and I get them and we meet in the middle, which is why we've been successful - and this new venture with BMW is just what we need going into next season."

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