BMW Motorrad has confirmed its official return to the World Superbike championship in 2019 with factory backing for Shaun Muir Racing who has signed Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger to form an all-new rider line-up.

Having worked with SMR in 2016, BMW has opted to return with the British team to run its new BMW S1000RR bike in WorldSBK from next season.

BMW will take control of development on the engine, electronics, chassis and aerodynamics – something it didn’t get involved with in 2016 – with SMR operating the testing and racing duties.

As part of the new partnership, BMW-backed rider Reiterberger joins the team alongside 2013 World Superbike champion Sykes, who switches from the factory Kawasaki squad this winter, to producean all-new line-up at the expense of Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori who competed for the team this year running Aprilia bikes.

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Speaking at the official BMW S1000RR launch at the EICMA show in Milan, Sykes is relishing his fresh start in World Superbikes with BMW after nine consecutive campaigns with Kawasaki.

“I am very excited to join the new BMW project in the WorldSBK Championship,” Sykes said. “I believe that the BMW and Shaun Muir Racing partnership is an outstanding opportunity and understand that we all share the same goals of where we want to be.

“I am looking forward to the start of the pre-season testing where I will get my first taste of the new BMW S1000RR and begin my new challenge and adventure.”

Sykes’ team-mate Reiterberger has warned against setting expectations too high against tough competition in World Superbikes as well as his respect for his new team-mate.

Reiterberger made his WorldSBK debut with BMW in 2013 and has competed in the series exclusively with the German manufacturer as well as securing multiple German IDM Superbike titles with the previous S1000RR bike. This year the German also claimed the final European Superstock 1000 title with BMW ahead of his return to the premier class.

“I am really happy to be staying with the BMW family, and to be competing for a good and experienced team,” Reiterberger said. “I am looking forward to working with my new team-mate Tom Sykes as well. I have a huge amount of respect for him; he has already been world champion and has been one of the very best for years.

“However, we need to be careful not to set our expectations too high. We have a new motorbike and we are in a new team. We just need to try to be improving all the time and make sure that we prepare well for the start of the season.

“I am really looking forward to this new challenge and I am very optimistic. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and given me this new chance in the WorldSBK.”

The team commences winter testing this month at Aragon and Jerez before the Christmas shutdown over December.

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