Pegram Gets BMW Ready for 2011

Henny Ray Abrams | December 17, 2010

BROOKLYN, NY, DEC 17 – Larry Pegram is going from Italian passion to German efficiency for the 2011 AMA Superbike season.With interest from Ducati on the wane, Pegram made a successful pitch to BMW North America to spearhead their first serious entry into the American Superbike wars. The swap means he’ll go from the most successful V-twin in Superbike history to an untested inline four that’s garnered positive reviews and won this year’s 1000cc Superstock FIM Cup under Italian Aytron Badovini.The veteran team owner/racer hasn’t slowed since taking delivery of the S1000 RRs. He’s taken it to four tracks, Barber, Miller, New Jersey, and Jennings GP, in preparation for the 2011 season. His familiarity with the machine has increased, but the S1000 RR remains very much a work in progress. The bike he’s been riding is nearly stock and some of the most important components, including the Pectel electronics, have yet to arrive.The iteration he rode at this week’s three-day test at Jennings GP, a two-mile track near the Florida-Georgia border, was so stock that it still had the encoded key, which meant swapping electrical components wasn’t possible. It had an Akropovic pipe and some other performance parts, but the engine was stock, as were the wheels. The suspension was from Ohlins and Pegram had the assistance of Jon Cornwell, who’d worked with the Ducati World Superbike team for years and, most recently, spent the past two seasons with BMW’s World Superbike team.”The support from Germany helps with the technical ends on it and having Jon [Cornwell] helps too, because he worked with the BMW guys last year in Europe, so that helps,” Pegram said. “And then the electronics package that we’re going to run, the British Superbike BMW team’s going to run the exact same one – it’s a Pectel [Cosworth] – and Ten Kate uses it and some other World Superbike teams. But that’s going to be a big plus for me. We’re going to share information between our team and their team openly so we can try to make the system better.”Comparing the Ducati to the BMW, Pegram said, “It’s different, for sure. It’s a four-cylinder, so it’s taken me some getting used to. But it’s an easy bike to ride. It doesn’t do anything stupid. It does a lot of things well, so it’s pretty good.”Right now with everything completely stock on the thing it makes it difficult for engine braking because we don’t have any way to control that. we’re in the process of getting some stuff to change all that, but right now it’s a stock motorcycle. And we’re not running any traction control either and the bike makes a lot of power. You’ve got to be a little more respectful of it. once we get the electronics on this you can be a bit more aggressive with it too and it’ll be a little more forgiving. Right now it’ll grab you. You’ve got to be careful. Like I said, for a stock motorcycle, I don’t think there’s a stock motorcycle on the planet, obviously, that’s as good as this thing is box stock as we’ve been running it.”Ducati had a lot of torque as soon as you hit the gas. This thing you’ve got to let it rev a little bit more. This thing definitely has a really good power curve. It’s real electric-feeling motor. It doesn’t hit real hard. It never has any real spikes in it, but yet it makes really good power. So it just pulls and pulls, which is something I got to get used to too. I wasn’t revving near high enough when I first got on it, but I’m getting more used to it.”Next week, Pegram will be one of a handful of Superbike to take part in the Dunlop tire test at Daytona on December 19-20. Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team of Tommy Hayden and Blake Young are also riding, with the Daytona SportBike class represented by Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin and Benny Solis, and Vesrah Racing’s Cory West. The final list of riders hasn’t been set. The riders will be testing development tires on the recently repaved Speedway surface. A second, less exclusive test is planned for Daytona on January 16-17

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.