According to Brit moto-mag MCN, BMW is returning to World Superbike with a factory team, and they’ve hired Tom Sykes to ride the bike.
BMW has been out of World Superbike since 2013, with privateers riding its bikes, but no factor team; its departure back then put the series in a jam; losing a major manufacturer was a big hit to organizers.
Since then, BMW has promoted racing through its in-house Race Trophy series, which was intended to keep roadracing frontrunners interested in its superbikes. But this year, BMW seems much less interested in promoting the Race Trophy, just as it’s about to introduce a new S1000 RR superbike.
The new S1000 RR is said to be a game-changing superbike, and World Superbike is a very good place to show that off. And, Sykes is a good choice to pilot the machine. He’s currently fourth in the championship standings riding for Kawasaki, but he’s been a consistent podium threat for the past decade—and he’s keen to find a hot new ride, as it’s already been determined that he’s parting ways with Kawasaki’s factory team at season’s end.
Sykes has some pride riding on this, as he was the man to beat until Jonathan Rea showed up to ride the other Kawasaki factory bike; since then, Rea has consistently beat Sykes, race after race, and Sykes hasn’t been happy about it. Jumping aboard a new bike with a new team (technically, it’s the Shawn Muir Racing team, but with BMW factory support) could rejuvenate his career. He’d better hope his teammate doesn’t pass him, though. The other factory rider is Markus Reiterbeger, who’s been banging around Europe in various superbike series for the past few years, always aboard Beemers. That experience will likely do him in good stead when racing starts next season.
As for World Superbike, you can bet Dorna’s officials are chuffed to have BMW back in the fold. It’s good business for everyone.