Tom Sykes will remain with BMW Motorrad for the 2021 WorldSBK Championship where he will be joined by new signing Michael van der Mark in a revised rider line-up.

A WorldSBK Championship title winner with Kawasaki in 2013, Sykes brought his long-standing collaboration with the manufacturer to a close in 2019 in favour of a switch to BMW, which returned as a full-factory effort with the latest generation S1000RR sportsbike.

While the 2020 WorldSBK Championship remains in its relative infancy with three rounds completed of a revised eight-event schedule, Sykes’ extended deal means BMW has already firmed up its factory line-up for 2021 following the earlier confirmation van der Mark will join from Yamaha next year.

“Tom has been part of our WorldSBK Team from the very start and is an important pillar of this project,” said Marc Bongers, BMW Motorsport Director. “We are pleased to be able to continue along the common path in 2021, which we embarked upon with the first tests back in December 2018.

“This gives us continuity, which is very important for the successful development of a project. We have already achieved a lot together, and the goal is now to definitively close the gap to the front-runners. Tom’s extensive knowledge of the BMW S 1000 RR and his input will play a key role in achieving this.”

Though Sykes is still seeking his first win in BMW colours he did notch up a 50th career WorldSBK pole position at the Phillip Island opener, while he achieved four podiums with the Shaun Muir Racing-run outfit last season.

The announcement spells bad news for Eugene Laverty, who looks to have been dropped from the factory squad less than half-way through his current deal. However, there could be a reprieve for the Irishman if BMW’s plans to introduce a satellite team go to plan, with WorldSSP dominators BARDAHL Evan Bros. linked to taking on the project.