It has now been officially announced that Tom Sykes will ride alongside Chris Vermeulen at the factory-backed PBM Kawasaki team in the 2010 World Superbike Championship.

Whereas Vermeulen - a former World Supersport champion, ten time WSBK race winner and winner of the 2007 French MotoGP - is joining forces with Bird for the first time, it will be Sykes' second spell with the team having raced for the squad in the 2007 British Superbike Championship, when he was a regular podium finisher.

Sykes then switched to Rizla Suzuki for the 2008 BSB season, when he won his first races and finished on the WSBK podium as a wild-card at Donington Park. Such performances helped clinch a coveted ride for the factory Yamaha WSBK team, alongside reigning triple AMA champion Ben Spies.

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But whilst Spies has enjoyed a phenomenal season, and will battle Noriyuki Haga for title glory in this Sunday's Portimao season finale, Sykes has taken a best finish of fourth and sits eighth in standings.

Having lost his Yamaha seat, the 24-year-old is happy to be back with PBM and ready to put all of the hard-earned knowledge from this season to good use in 2010.

"The team has big plans for World Superbikes next year so I'm really looking forward to being part of them," said Sykes.

"The big factor for me was that I have worked with the team before and know how good they are, they're one of the best teams I've ridden for and I'll have the same crew chief as I had in my rookie season in BSB.

"I've learned a hell of a lot this year and the intention is to put that experience to good use and I've every confidence that the package will be very competitive in 2010."

"I'm absolutely delighted that we have managed to sign both Chris and Tom, as they are both fantastic riders and I know they'll do a great job for us next season," said Paul Bird.

"Chris has proved how competitive he is on a Superbike as his results demonstrate and I've always rated Tom highly, that's why I handed him his first proper Superbike ride back in 2007.

"The team has made huge strides forward this year and we can now put into practice what we have learned and I fully expect us to be challenging at the sharp end in 2010.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to both Broc [Parkes] and Makoto [Tamada] for their hard work, professionalism and dedication during the past season and myself and the whole team wishes them both well for the future."

PBM will shortly announce details of a new title sponsor which will back the team for the next two years.

2009 is PBM's first year as the official Kawasaki Superbike team.