Eugene Laverty will return to the Shaun Muir Racing fold for the 2020 World Superbike Championship after penning a deal that will see him join Tom Sykes on the factory BMW.

The experienced Irishman raced SMR-prepared Aprilia machinery in 2017 and 2018 under the Milwaukee Racing banner before switching to the privateer Go Eleven Ducati team for 2019, a season hampered by a period out through injury.

For 2020, Laverty returns to SMR to ride the factory-backed BMW S1000RR in place of Markus Reiterberger. He joins Tom Sykes, who has already achieved one pole position and three podiums with the new-for-2019 machine.

“In Eugene Laverty, we welcome a very experienced rider on board – someone who is also very familiar with Shaun Muir’s team,” said BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers. “At the same time, we would like to say a big thank you to Markus Reiterberger.

“He was closely involved in the development of the racing version of the new RR from the word go, and has thus been instrumental in the success we have enjoyed. We will do everything we can, in the remaining races we have together in the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, to ensure that we have a successful end to the season with Markus.”

“First of all, we have got to thank Markus Reiterberger for his commitment and efforts,” added team boss Shaun Muir. “Equally, I’m delighted to welcome Eugene Laverty into the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team for 2020, and also to welcome him back to the SMR team. Eugene joins the team and brings with him a wealth of experience.

“We strongly believe that he can be a strong challenger for the podium. We are hopeful that as soon as he hits the track at pre-season testing in November, the bike will be on another level and I think that the combination of his experience and his speed will be a welcome addition to the WorldSBK project.”

Laverty made his WorldSBK debut in 2011 with Yamaha and has since gone on to notch up 13 wins and 35 podiums. He also enjoyed a two-year stint in MotoGP, finishing a creditable 13th overall with four top ten results on the satellite Aspar Ducati.

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