Paul Bird has revealed neither his team nor Tom Sykes will be retained by Kawasaki for the 2012 World Superbike Championship on the day the British rider scored the manufacturer's first win in five years.
Bird made the startling revelation in his own personal press release, in which he criticised Kawasaki's decision to drop Sykes, particularly in light of his remarkable ride to victory in a sodden second race at the Nurburgring.
Bird signed Sykes on a personal contract for the 2011 season after Kawasaki's decision to retain Chris Vermeulen and honour a long-standing agreement with Joan Lascorz. As such, PBM has run a three-rider team this season, though Vermeulen has skipped several races through injury.
With Sykes scoring a second pole position with the manufacturer at Misano, Bird was shocked to learn that neither he nor Paul Bird Motorsport – which assumed running its WSBK effort in 2009 – will be retained for next year just hours before going on to take a surprise win.
Nonetheless, he is proud to see them 'responding magnificently' to the news by going to claim a landmark win.
"Having learned this morning [Sunday] that we wouldn't be running the Kawasaki team next year was a massive blow and the team responded magnificently with our strongest performance of the season. As well as us, Tom was told his services would not be required next season so what better way of proving a point than giving the factory its first victory in five years, but you have to say they make some great decisions don't they?
“Getting sacked proved to be a lucky omen for us and I'm delighted for Tom and the team as they have been through the mill at times with this project. It's a shame we can't see it through given all our hard work but as one door closes, another one opens and we look forward to the challenges ahead should we decide to carry on."
Paul Bird Motorsport replaced PSG-1 Corse as Kawasaki's official representative in World Superbikes in 2009, by which time the ZX-10R was beginning to age. Even so, in the hands of Sykes in 2010, the team put in some fine performances, renewing hope the new ZX-10R would transform them into consistent front runners.
Though the bike hasn't established itself fully yet, Sykes and Lascorz have posted some encouraging results, culminating in Sykes's impressive victory at the Nurburgring.
Lascorz is tipped to stay on in 2012, with the likes of Marco Melandri and Randy de Puniet linked with Sykes's apparently vacant seat. Provec Motocard.com, which runs the Kawasaki team in World Supersport, has been tipped to take over from Paul Bird Motorsport.