The sporting future of the former Superbike World Champion Tom Sykes is still unclear shortly before the turn of the year. The Englishman continues to be associated with Ducati.
For Tom Sykes, the season finale at the new Mandalika Circuit in Indonesia was a comeback, but at the same time a farewell. Because the 36-year-old missed the meetings in Jerez, Portimão and San Juan due to a protracted concussion (fall in Barcelona). In Lombok, Sykes returned to his M1000RR, but it was also his last race weekend with BMW – and maybe even in the Superbike World Championship.
Sykes joined the new BMW works team as a figurehead in 2019 and provided the highlights with the S1000RR at the time. The 2013 world champion achieved four podiums, one pole position and finished the season in a solid eighth place in the World Championship.
The expected upward trend in the second year failed for various reasons, Sykes was only twelfth in the World Cup. Even 2021 did not go as hoped for the Englishman, despite the new M1000RR. The highlight of the year for him were the two podiums in Donington Park.
“For me, the 2021 season was split in two and therefore bittersweet,” Sykes told SPEEDWEEK.com. “We had to develop a motorcycle and we had to race at the same time, that’s a tricky task. At this level in racing, you normally have to concentrate on the set-up for the race. “
In mid-August, prior to the Navarre event, Sykes learned that he would have to cede his place at Shaun Muir Racing to Scott Redding for 2022. He disappointedly turned down the offer to drive a BMW with a reduced salary for the Bonovo action team.
“That left a sour taste in my mouth,” said the bald bearded man. “I had a few lessons to learn in my life, and another one this year. But I understand and I will continue. “
It is unclear what will continue to be athletic. Sykes is convinced that with a motorcycle tailored to his needs, he still has what it takes to become a world champion. But in the Superbike World Championship there are only free places in the Kawasaki private teams Orelac and Pedercini. Both are not top addresses, and both are usually looking for pay drivers.
Sykes’ move to the British or US Superbike championship seems much more realistic, he speaks to Ducati, among others. In BSB, Paul Bird Motorsport is the figurehead of the Reds from Bologna, Sykes drove for the team in the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, back then on a Kawasaki. And in the USA, the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York team is responsible for the Panigale V4R, which is looking for a quick successor to Loris Baz. Both teams are among the best in their championship.
“So far, no decision has been made, I have several options,” said Sykes. «A lot of people are not aware of the risks my injury posed for me this year. But I came back and qualified for the second row in Mandalika. I know that I still have the level, in an ideal world I would continue to compete in the world championship. Of course, I am considering the two championships mentioned. One could now argue that the stretches there are narrower and so on. But my passion is motorcycle racing. Back in 2013, when I was in Laguna Seca and later became world champion, I thought that I would like to race there for a season. I’ve already been to BSB, I know that they have a very well organized and strong championship. Although I’m 36 years old now, I feel like I’m 25 and continue to enjoy racing. “
Sykes has not used the word “resignation” so far, and he shows no interest in the Endurance World Championships.
Tom captured 114 podiums in 349 World Superbike races, including 34 victories. He set the fastest race lap 39 times and was on pole position 51 times – more than anyone else. Between 2012 and 2017, the Huddersfield man always finished the World Cup in the top 3, and in 2013 he crowned his career by winning the title for Kawasaki.