Tom Sykes believes the new Kawasaki ZX-10R has 'huge potential' after qualifying on the front row and racing well during the Donington Park round of the World Superbike Championship.
The British rider qualified in third position and ran with the leaders during the opening race before crashing during the latter stages, a substantial improvement on the bike's fairly unspectacular debut outing in Australia.
Indeed, Sykes is delighted to have been given even the chance to ride the bike after almost being frozen out of a Kawasaki line-up decided months prior to his impressive end to the 2010 season, the former BSB race winner eventually earning a third machine alongside contracted Joan Lascorz and Chris Vermeulen.
Thanking team manager Paul Bird, Sykes says it was crucial for him to stay with Kawasaki to not only sample the much improved machine, but to also get some continuity.
“It was looking a bit sketchy, but fair play to Paul Bird, he has big belief in me,” he told Crash.net
. “It was very important to remain with Kawasaki. They work like you wouldn't believe and I wanted a bit of continuity which I now have. I am really comfortable working with Kawasaki.
“The new bike is a massive improvement and I am quietly confident that this bike has huge potential.”
Taking a 'nothing to lose' approach towards the end of the 2010 season, Sykes was able to take a stunning pole position at Imola, as well as Kawasaki best race results since 2007 during the same weekend. With that in mind, Sykes felt he deserved the chance to stay on with the manufacturer.
“We pushed on and said 'never say never'. With a few rounds to go we managed to put it on pole position, lead races and finish in fourth position, so I thought I deserved a shot on the new bike and luckily I got.”