Eugene Laverty will officially swap WorldSBK racing for a co-owner and rider coach role at Bonovo BMW in 2023.
Team-mate to Loris Baz, Laverty has so far endured a tough second season aboard the M 1000 RR.
With just one top ten to his name in 14 races this season, the former MotoGP rider will bring an end to his WorldSBK career that’s currently in its tenth season.
Discussing his new role for 2023, Laverty said: “Jurgen Roder and Michael Galinski made this proposal to me and I really appreciate that they believe I can fulfill this role. I wanted to finish in a strong way with some decent results, but obviously after the last rounds I had to change my thinking a little bit, as I’m having some difficulties.
“I really enjoy being part of this team though, as it’s probably the best team I’ve ever ridden in during my career. And opportunities like this don’t come along very often.
“Jurgen has been looking for some fresh blood to entrust with the future of the team, but also someone with experience. This will be a completely different path of my career.
“It’s going to be a very interesting new challenge for me, and I’ll have a lot to learn from Jurgen and Michael. At the same time, I want to say thank you to BMW Motorrad Motorsport for their faith in the past three years. We will stay closely related through my new role also in the future.”
Oettl and GoEleven Ducati officially remain together for second WorldSBK campaign
While there was little doubt that Oettl would be staying with Ducati, confirmation of a second season together was made by GoEleven shortly before race one in Most.
“I am excited about another year with Team Go Eleven,” said Oettl. “We have matched very well, and after Assen we were already quite close to the front group.
“We had some misfortunes during the year so far but I am happy that the team wants to continue with me.
“This season is and will be all about learning. Sometimes we can take steps forward and sometimes steps back, but it’s part of the growing process. We know we have a good potential, so I am super happy to be with them one year more!”
Lowes ‘really sad’ to miss out on race two
If you missed the final race of the weekend at Most, then firstly, you missed an epic encounter between Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea, but also a race in which Alex Lowes was ruled out due to illness.
Lowes, who crashed out of the Superpole race with three laps remaining, had been struggling with a fever and lack of energy throughout the three days.
“Yeah it’s a big shame to be ill and not able to ride in race two,” said Lowes. “I’m really sad and frustrated about it. I actually had good speed and pace on the bike all weekend but unfortunately I wasn’t able to perform how I wanted.
“For someone who prides himself on preparation and fitness it’s really hard to accept weekends like this. But now my focus turns to resting and getting better before the Suzuka 8 Hours. We have a short turnaround and a lot of travel so I need to try to relax.”
On-track battles leave tensions heated in Most
After their intense battle at Most in 2021, Razgatlioglu and Scott Redding resumed their on-track fight during Saturday’s race one.
Coming under pressure from the reigning world champion in the final few laps, Redding was pushed wide by Razgatlioglu at turn 15 despite no contact being made, leaving the BMW rider to say: ‘It’s frustrating, I want him to understand [where the limit is] for safety reasons’.
Also feeling the wrath of his rivals was the second Pata Yamaha of Andrea Locatelli. The Italian was unusually aggressive during race one – actually started on the sighting lap as he nearly collected team-mate Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea and Michael Ruben Rinaldi – with the latter calling for the second-year Superbike rider to use his ‘brain’ more.
Following Sunday’s Superpole race it was the turn of Redding to be unhappy with Locatelli, as the former WorldSBK runner-up in 2020 claimed Locatelli was ‘always running into someone’.
Bautista makes history for Ducati
The championship leader took a superb victory in race one, his seventh of the season which is one more than Razgatlioglu and two ahead of Rea. Bautista was also the rider to clinch Ducati’s 1000th WorldSBK podium, making them the first manufacturer to do so.