Eugene Laverty insists the BMW S1000RR has ‘huge potential’ and will be challenging for race wins this season when the 2020 WorldSBK Championship can get back underway.

The Irishman, runner-up in 2013, returns to the Shaun Muir Racing fold for 2020 alongside Tom Sykes in the factory-backed BMW Motorrad WorldSBK.

Unlike most series’, WorldSBK did manage to get a round underway in Australia before the coronavirus pandemic worsened, though it was a tough opener for Laverty with an 11th place in race one before an accident during warm-up ruled him out of Sunday’s races entirely.

Despite the stuttering start, Laverty nonetheless has positive impressions of the BMW S1000RR, calling it a ‘rough penny’ that he thinks has the potential to be winning races ‘sooner rather than later’.

“When I first rode the bike in November, it was very raw. The potential of the bike was huge immediately. I was surprised how much of a rough penny it was in terms of fine details. The progress being made was sensational. This is a project I want to be involved in long term and BMW are going to be winning races sooner rather than later.”

Despite Sykes scoring a dominant Superpole on Saturday afternoon and initially leading Race 1, it was otherwise a difficult opening round for BMW with a best finish of sixth position in the Superpole Race.

Though BMW has maintained a constant presence in WorldSBK since 2009, the 2019 season marked its first full-factory effort since 2013, the year of the manufacturer’s last win in the series.