Sykes `should stay in BSB`.

Rizla Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine believes star rider Tom Sykes should stay in BSB next season, unless he gets the chance to ride for a top World Superbike team.

At a time when Britain is desperately in need of its next WSBK star, Sykes grabbed the attention of the world championship teams with a highly impressive debut as a wild-card at Brands Hatch.

The 22-year-old Englishman qualified his 'overweight' BSB-spec GSX-R1000 in sixth position, then rode an overheating bike up to third place in race one before it finally expired.

Lacking the data gained from a full race distance, Sykes still ran as high as fourth in race two before slipping to seventh in the closing stages - albeit less than three-seconds behind fourth placed Max Neukirchner of the official Alstare Suzuki WSBK team.

"It was a real good weekend for the team," Valentine told Radio. "Rizla Suzuki has proven it can run at world level and Tom has proved he can run at world level. We were running our bike in BSB spec, which is 5 kg over the minimum [WSBK] weight limit, so we've done a terrific job.

"The first race was very, very disappointing because I think we could have had a podium. On the first lap Tom was closing Biaggi down and Biaggi ran off the track and sent some stones up onto Tom's machine. Unfortunately one of them smashed a hole in the front mudguard and then ricocheted into the radiator.

"He hung in there until obviously the water went and then that was it, but in the meantime - with a slowing bike - he still passed Corser [for third]. So we were looking forward to a possible podium there.

"But I think he made up for it in the second race. He ran up front as high as [fourth] and set the fastest lap of the race at one point. Towards the end, as the tyres went off, I think he probably played it a bit cautious and brought it home. It's better to be seventh than in the dirt somewhere."

Just two weeks before Brands Hatch, Sykes had taken his first BSB race victories with a perfect double win at Oulton Park, propelling the fast-improving young Englishman up to third in the British Championship standings.

So is Rizla Suzuki now in danger of losing its star rider to the world championship paddock?

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sykes, British WSBK Race 1 2008
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Glenn Irwin, Be Wiser Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jakub Smrz, Lloyd & Jones/PR Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jakub Smrz, Lloyd & Jones/PR Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Westmoreland, Gearlink Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Billy McConnell, Quattro Plant Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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Raw Dawg - Unregistered

August 05, 2008 2:15 PM

Oh yeah, Sykes should leave BSB as soon as he gets a decent WSBK ride - title or no title. Foggy and Toseland didn't hang around for a BSB title and they did alright, no?

Paul 46!!!

August 05, 2008 8:47 AM

The guy did a great job! working with the tools he was, not knocking the Rizla suzuki team but I mean with regard to the spec difference, he did fantastic. I think he will continue to be a race winner in BSB this season and I think he will be smart to stay there until he gets a competetive WSBK ride... Definately a star for the future on the World scene, and we need one now having just lost a great hope!

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