WSB: Bonovo BMW sign Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty for 2022 season

Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz, seen battling in 2019, will be BMW teammates next year
Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz, seen battling in 2019, will be BMW teammates next year

Loris Baz will make his official return to the World Superbike Championship next year after signing for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team.

Michael Galinski’s team are expanding to two riders next season, and Baz will be joined by WSB veteran Eugene Laverty on the BMW M1000 RR. After a difficult 2021 campaign, current rider Jonas Folger’s contract with the team has been “terminated by mutual consent.”

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Baz left the WSB paddock at the end of 2020 despite an impressive couple of years onboard the Ten Kate Racing Yamaha R1. Despite missing the opening five rounds in 2019, Baz still managed to end the season 10th overall.

Things progressed the following year, with the Frenchman securing a total of four podiums – finishing second in the feature races at Magny-Cours, and third in the Superpole races in Barcelona and Portimao – on his way to eighth overall.

However, Ten Kate Racing were unable to remain on the Superbike grid for 2021, leaving Baz without a ride. As a result, Baz joined MotoAmerica onboard a Ducati V4 R and ended the season fourth overall with a best result of second (x4).

Baz returned with Team GoEleven Ducati at Jerez and Portimao as a replacement for the injured Chaz Davies, and was immediately battling towards the front. Baz secured two podiums at Portimao.

“I am really happy to be back in WorldSBK so I want to thank BMW and the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team for giving me this opportunity,” Baz said. “I think that I have shown during these two rounds in Spain and Portugal that I have the pace to fight at the front in this championship.

“BMW is the brand that grew the most in the second part of the season. I have closely watched how the bike was improving. I have been racing with BMW before, so I know a lot of people there and also, I have been competing with MGM Racing for one race back in 2012. I am really happy and really excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to trying the bike and to starting to work together with the team and BMW. Thanks again to all the people involved in this project.”

Meanwhile, Laverty remains on BMW machinery for a third consecutive season. The 2013 runner-up raced for the factory team in 2020, onboard the old S1000 RR, before initially moving to the satellite RC Squadra Corse team. Unfortunately, the team withdrew from the series in July, leaving Laverty without a spot on the grid.

However, Laverty returned to the factory team at Jerez as a replacement for the injured Tom Sykes. During his eight-race stint, Laverty secured a best result of ninth (x2) on the all-new M1000 RR.

“I’m very happy to continue with BMW Motorrad and join the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team for the 2022 World Superbike season,” Laverty said. “It is fantastic to remain in the BMW WorldSBK family. The past six months have been tough for me as a rider and so I’m very grateful for the continued support and belief from everyone involved in this project.

“I’m very motivated to repay that faith in my abilities and I feel confident that following a solid winter testing campaign we can arrive ready and competitive at round one.”

Baz and Laverty will join Michael van der Mark and Scott Redding onboard BMW machinery next year. Van der Mark clinched BMW’s first WSB victory in eight years at Portimao, in the mixed conditions of the Superpole race.