WSBK »

Crash.net's WSBK top ten: 7th

A pole position with arguably the weakest factory bike on the 2010 World Superbike Championship grid? Tom Sykes went above and beyond expectations this season...
7. Tom Sykes

Tom Sykes's first season in the World Superbike Championship raised more questions than it did answers.

While he failed to secure a podium finish at any stage, Sykes showed consistent form aboard the Yamaha R1 in what was his maiden season on the international stage. Then again, his team-mate was dominating on the same bike in what was also his first season…

But did Sykes really underperform, or was it that Spies was just that good…?

Twelve months later and those answers have all but been answered, with Spies starring on the Tech 3 Yamaha in MotoGP, while Sykes has revived his reputation after a mighty performance on the unfancied – and unloved – Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2010.

Saved from the indignity of trudging back to the British Superbike Championship, Sykes reunited with Paul Bird for a shot on the factory Kawasaki. While the operation – which was focusing its attentions mostly on 2011 and the much anticipated new machine – certainly wasn't tipped to help Sykes get the podium he should have achieved with Yamaha, remarkably it is almost exactly what he did.

Given another strong benchmark in Chris Vermeulen, while we never got a proper chance to see how Sykes would fare against the MotoGP race winner, he nonetheless revelled in his elevated team leader status.

In a competitive field of both factory and privateer machinery, Sykes produced a consistent run of points before achieving a breakthrough result at Monza when a second row grid position engineered a top five finish, including a cheeky last lap pass on Noriyuki Haga.

While it didn't immediately spur him on to anything more than solid points' finishes from there, it was Sykes's end to the season that really earned him a chance to feature in our top ten list.

Finishing fifth and seventh at the Nurburgring for Kawasaki's best combined results on the world stage in more than three years, Sykes went on to shock the WSBK paddock with a run to pole position at Imola.

Though weather assisted, Sykes proved he had the mettle to challenge up front as he led both races confidently before eventually being overhauled. Cruelly denied the podium finish he ultimately deserved, sixth and fourth place finishes were still way and above Kawasaki's pre-season expectations for a bike that, after several years of underachievement, was seemingly peaking in its penultimate event.

Undoubtedly earning the right to stay with the manufacturer – which is tipped to show great improvements with a new bike in 2011 -, Sykes still had a nervous wait before being confirmed alongside the contractually-obligated Chris Vermeulen and Joan Lascorz. Indeed, Kawasaki should be applauded for putting in the investment to accommodate Sykes rather than opting for the more financially friendly two-rider team.

Already leading development on the new ZX-10R – and setting some impressive times too -, Sykes looks set to progress from underdog to dark horse next season…

Statistics:

Team: Kawasaki SRT
Bike: Kawasaki ZX-10R

Championship position: 14th
Points: 106

Race starts: 26
Pole positions: 1
Victories: 0
Podiums: 0
Best results: 4th (Imola)
Points finishes: 18

Crash.net's WSBK Top 10

7. Tom Sykes
8. Troy Corser
9. Noriyuki Haga
10. Sylvain Guintoli


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK Test 2010
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK Test 2010
Sykes, French WSBK Race 1 2010
Sykes, French WSBK Race 1 2010
Sykes, French WSBK Race 1 2010
Sykes, French WSBK Race 1 2010
Sykes, Imola WSBK Race 2 2010
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jonathan Rea and Davies at the FIM awards presentation ,Qatar WSBK 2016
Cluzel, Davies, Rea, Sykes, Krummenacher and Kyle Smith, FIM award winners, Qatar WSBK 2016

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.