New Tyco deal can bring title glory: Michael Laverty
Michael Laverty's end of season form has secured a second year with local team Tyco BMW in the British Superbike Championship, where he will be joined by former World Supermoto star Christian Iddon.
The Toomebridge ace, who is now based in Wales, won the final race of the season at Brands Hatch back in October and firmly believes that remaining with Philip Neill's squad will give him his best chance of finally landing the coveted British Superbike crown.
"I'm delighted to be back on board the Tyco BMW for the 2016 season," said Laverty of his deal with TAS Racing, who are BMW Motorrad UK's official factory-supported team.
"The continuity of riding the same bike in the same team is something I'm really excited about, given the terrific progress we made.
"We went out with a win in that final race, which signals our intent going into the New Year and with the TAS team having some interesting developments planned for the Tyco BMW S1000RR, a winter of fine tuning is an intriguing prospect.
"I've barely spent a day at home in Wales since October, but I've been riding plenty of motorcycles and was instructing at a BMW owners' track day in Portugal alongside three-time British champion Niall Mackenzie, which was a lot of fun."
The season started off with more than a blip for the 34-year-old who was returning from the MotoGP paddock, and while a few in the BSB press room had already written him off after the Brands opener, the Ulsterman weathered the storm to finish the season with four podiums from the final six races.
"It's fair to say 2015 was a lot tougher than expected," said Laverty. "The BMW S1000RR is a fantastic machine and my first impressions of the road bike blew me away, so perhaps that's why I was a little surprised when things didn't instantly click."
After a few significant updates, which included a revolutionary swing-arm, Laverty was back to his best in the latter part of the year, and believes he can hit the ground running in 2016.
"It's all about marginal gains in BSB as the playing field is very level, so I'm looking forward to being on the same bike for a second season. I believe that should give me a good opportunity to land the title," he concluded.
The Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club has announced a new partnership with Ticketmaster as part of their plans to make it faster, easier and more secure for fans to purchase tickets for the Ulster Grand Prix.
The new system, which is now live, allows fans to log onto www.ticketmaster.co.uk and book their tickets for Bike Week 2016, and it is the first time this digital system has been introduced for a real road race.
When the tickets are purchased online, the buyer receives a voucher that can be exchanged for admission wristbands at the entrance to the circuit.
Wristbands allow admission to the circuit throughout Bike Week, which takes place from August 8-13, meaning fans can ensure they don't miss a minute of the action at the world's fastest road race.
Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the Ulster Grand Prix, said: "We're really pleased to join with Ticketmaster for 2016, it's something that we believe will greatly enhance the experience for the fans.
"With so many people now buying tickets and researching events online, it was important that we make the event as accessible as possible."