Eugene Laverty: BMW team sign up Toome rider for 2020 Superbike season
Eugene Laverty has secured his future in World Superbikes with the official factory BMW Motorrad team placing their faith in him for the 2020 campaign.
Toome rider Laverty (33) replaces the outgoing Markus Reiterberger to join Tom Sykes in the Shaun Muir-managed squad.
Laverty has been riding for the Go Eleven Ducati team in a season disrupted by injury following a massive crash at Imola in which he broke both wrists.
He said last night: "There are still four rounds to complete this year on my Go Eleven Ducati, I want to deliver the podiums I've promised and focus on the task in hand. The new adventure will start in November and I'm looking forward to it. For now, roll on round 10 at Portimao."
Announcing the signing, BMW team principal Muir said: "I'm delighted to welcome Eugene into the BMW Motorrad WSBK Team for 2020.
"Eugene brings a wealth of quality and experience to the team and we believe he can be a firm challenger for podiums and have a strong Championship.
"As soon as he hits the track at pre-season testing in November, the bike will be at another level and I think that the combination of his experience and speed will be a welcome addition to the WSBK project."
In the opening British Superbike practice at Cadwell Park yesterday, Be Wiser Ducati rider Josh Brookes held the top spot from start to finish in the 45-minute session, 0.096 seconds ahead of Danny Buchan.
Andrew Irwin was fifth fastest on his Honda Racing machine in the dry session, 0.654 seconds behind Brookes, with last week's Ulster Grand Prix hero Peter Hickman sixth fastest despite a spill at the hairpin in which he was uninjured.
Tyco BMW duo Glenn Irwin and Christian Iddon were ninth and 10th fastest respectively on exactly the same lap time of one minute 28.441 seconds, just over a second slower than provisional pole man Brookes.
Only a few riders went out in the wet second session with fastest man Tommy Bridewell over 13 seconds slower than Brookes' morning time.
It was a similar pattern in British Supersport with Jack Kennedy continuing his purple patch. He was 1.2 seconds ahead of the next Supersport machine of Tom Oliver with Alastair Seeley third fastest, 1.6 seconds behind the Dubliner.
Lee Johnston was ninth fastest, the Maguiresbridge rider taking in the meeting before heading to the Classic TT.
Halifax-based Johnston was the fastest Supersport rider in the wet second session despite completing only four laps. Kennedy managed two and Seeley five in the half-hour session.
Qualifying and the first Supersport race take place this afternoon with Seeley needing to win to rekindle his Championship hopes.
Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix practice is scheduled to commence this evening when over 30 newcomers to the Mountain Circuit will get their first taste of the course with their speed-controlled lap.
In the Classic classes, Johnston - last year's winner of the Lightweight Classic TT - is back riding a 250cc Binch Yamaha, Dean Harrison chases his third Classic Superbike TT in a row, UGP winner Paul Jordan rides a Mistral 750cc Kawasaki, Michael Dunlop is entered on a Team Classic Suzuki and Michael Sweeney, Derek Sheils, Davey Todd, Maria Costello, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness should all be in action this evening.
Ballymoney's Darryl Tweed and Skerries lorry driver Andy Farrell, Manx Grand Prix winners last year, return for another crack at the Manx Lightweight, Junior and Senior classes with Dave Butler, Stuart McCann, Denis Booth, Tommy Henry and Damien Horan all looking for good, steady opening laps.
On a cautionary note, Clerk of the course Gary Thompson last night appealed for more marshals to come forward as the numbers signed on fall short of those required.