Larry Pegram won’t have to completely learn how to ride a motorcycle again, but he admits there’s going to be a learning curve as he adapts to riding a four-cylinder again after riding a twin for the past four years in AMA Superbike racing.Pegram announced today that his Foremost Insurance-backed team will use BMW S 1000RRs in the coming season – a switch from the Ducati he rode to fourth the past two seasons in the American Superbike Championship. The veteran racer from Ohio has already tested the BMW three times (at Barber, Miller and New Jersey) since getting his hands on the S 1000RR.”All the testing went really well for what we’re riding,” Pegram said in a phone conversation this afternoon. “It’s a 100 percent stock engine with an Akrakovic pipe on it and a power commander. We’ve had the suspension done and Jon Cornwell has been working with us from Ohlins and we got the thing pretty darn good already.”Although the Pegram crew is starting from scratch with a new bike, the former dirt tracker says it’s the rider who needs most of the work at this point.”The reason we’ve been doing so much [testing] is partly just getting me riding a four-cylinder again because I haven’t ridden one since 2006 when I rode those Hondas,” he said. “It’s definitely a completely different motorcycle than what I’ve been on [the Ducati V-twins] . It’s’ a really stiff chassis, which makes you have a little bit different riding style. But it really does a lot of things really well – especially for being box stock like it is. It really makes good power and it’s really impressive right out of the box.”The change has Pegram fired up for the new year and he hopes to get a few more days of testing on the bike before things get serious.”I’m expecting really good things because when I go out and ride it I definitely don’t feel like I’m giving 100 percent and I know there’s a lot left there,” Pegram said. “Where we are at, lap-time wise, if we get a little bit more we’re going to be really, really good. I’m really excited about this season.”Unfortunately for Pegram, the World Superbike rules differ enough from the AMA rules that BMW can’t just send him an ex-Troy Corser World Superbike BMW.”We are definitely going to get a lot of technical support, but a lot of it doesn’t carry over because the rules are so different,” he said. “The cams are different, the pistons are different and the electronics are a bit different. There’s a lot of things that we will be doing through Pegram Racing on our own, but they [BMW] are 100 percent there for anything we need technically, but it’s not like they can go, ‘Here’s a World Superbike, good luck.’ You’d have to take 90 percent off the World Superbike.”It’s just a matter of getting everything dialed in. The biggest thing we are going to be doing now is engine development and electronics… electronics will probably be the hardest thing. Engine development we’re pretty good at and I think we’ve shown that over the years. I don’t know anybody since maybe 2007 that hasn’t bitched that our bikes were too fast and I think we’ll hear that again this year. Fast and very reliable. I think our biggest hurdle right now is electronic development on the bike and getting me accustomed to riding a four-cylinder again. We need to get me and the bike working like one and that’s when you go fast – when you get comfortable. The other thing that’s really nice is that most of my sponsors are happy staying with us – Foremost… well, almost all the sponsors have stayed with us and that’s very encouraging to me that they know the value my team can bring to them.”
Pegram Talks BMW
Paul Carruthers | Editor
Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.