Tom Sykes will leave the official Suzuki British Superbike team, operated by Crescent Motorcycle Co, at the end of this month - having signed to ride for Yamaha Motor Italia in the 2009 World Superbike Championship.

Sykes joined Rizla Suzuki for the 2008 BSB season, in which he achieved his first three victories and finished fourth in the championship standings. Sykes also claimed a fine second place finish as a wild-card at the Donington Park WSBK round, standing on the podium alongside world champion Troy Bayliss.

"We would all like to wish Tom our best wishes for the future," said Paul Denning, managing director of Crescent. "He did a sterling job for us and Suzuki this year and I'm impressed with what he helped us achieve.

"We are extremely disappointed to lose him but at the same time we are happy for Tom that he has secured such a good opportunity at world level. I'm sure he has a glittering career ahead - we will be watching his progress and hopefully welcoming him back to the Suzuki family in the future," Denning added.

Sykes will be replaced by British-based Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, who concludes his second season in MotoGP this weekend at Valencia.

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