Tom Sykes heads all new BMW WorldSBK Team

Rennie Scaysbrook | November 6, 2018

Tom Sykes heads all-new BMW WorldSBK Team—A few weeks ago 2013 FIM Superbike World Champion Tom Sykes had been without a prime prospect for the 2019 season, one of many current WorldSBK riders chasing fewer and fewer podium capable packages.

Tom Sykes heads all-new BMW WorldSBK Team

Tom Sykes heads all new BMW WorldSBK Team
Sykes (center) will be aiming to take back his WorldSBK with the new BMW S 1000 RR.

More recently Sykes was all but confirmed as the lead rider in a two-man assault on the 2019 World Championship, teamed up with 2018 STK European Champion Markus Reiterberger, inside the Shaun Muir Racing (SMR) team.

At the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan on Tuesday 6th November, it all became official. It was also made plain that the new S1000RR Sykes and ‘Reiti’ will ride will benefit from factory level involvement. The name of the new team says it all – BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.

This effort, with logistics, racing, testing and team operations conducted by SMR but the engineering for the engine, electronics, chassis, and aerodynamics done ‘in-house’, signals a return for BMW as an official entry to WorldSBK, even if it is being done via SMR at the circuits.

This is very good news for WorldSBK in general as BMW is a truly global brand that has just given the championship its corporate blessing again after leaving as a direct factory team in the early 2010s.

BMW has a more-or-less all-new S1000RR to turn into a contender as soon as possible, and the roadbike was also unveiled at EICMA.

They should not lack resources for a full-on WorldSBK assault.

BMW may need all of them with a class-leading Kawasaki and then a race focused new Ducati V4 to take on for real in just months from now.

Sykes, recently let go after nearly ten years as a Kawasaki rider said, “I am very excited to join the new BMW project in the WorldSBK Championship. I believe that the BMW and Shaun Muir Racing partnership is an outstanding opportunity and understand that we all share the same goals of where we want to be. I am looking forward to the start of the pre-season testing where I will get my first taste of the new BMW S 1000 RR and begin my new challenge and adventure.”

With 34 career race wins – the most recent this season at Assen – and the all-time Superpole tally of 48 Sykes has been a consistent WorldSBK challenger as well as 2013 champion. The 33-year-old rider has had long experience of four-cylinder Superbikes since his BSB career on Hondas and Suzukis, then Yamaha’s cross-plane WorldSBK R1 in 2009 (alongside America’s World Champion Ben Spies), and since then he has been on the recently-dominant Kawasaki Ninja in WorldSBK.

Reiterberger, although a three-time German Superbike champion with 38 WorldSBK race starts under his belt, is still only 24, giving BMW Motorrad and SMR the classic rider cocktail of youth and experience.

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Rennie Scaysbrook | Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook is our Road Test Editor. A lifetime rider, the Aussie made the trek across the Pacific to live the dream in the U.S. of A. Likes puppies and wheelies.