Tom Sykes says he wants to 'set the record straight' against the critics that have suggested he hasn't publically reacted to the injuries sustained by Kawasaki team-mate Joan Lascorz.
Doctors recently confirmed that Lascorz currently has no feeling in his legs and abdominal area as a consequence of the crash that took place at Imola in April, and remains in hospital.
Since then, three World Superbike events have taken place with riders offering their tributes in the form of 'Power for Joan' stickers displayed on the bikes. Despite this, Sykes himself has come under fire from a handful of critics who claim he hasn't shown enough public response to his team-mate's plight since the accident.
Sykes, however, has hit back, insisting he has naturally been affected by Lascorz's accident and injuries, but has chosen to express his emotions privately, adding that that comments suggesting he 'doesn't care' are 'well below the belt'.
The Englishman himself raised the topic, when asked about morale within the team following Lascorz's accident.
“For something like this to happen at this level is very rare and when it does happen it does hit home to a rider and the teams,” he told Crash.net
“I've seen a lot of comments around where some of the general public have mentioned myself not talking about Joan in interviews, basically suggesting that I don't care, but as far as I'm concerned comments like that are well below the belt.
“At the end of the day, he was my team-mate so we were close and if people don't think that affects me then I pity them.
“Myself and everybody else wish Joan the best. The team have understood my situation, knowing I care a lot about Joan's situation and it is their job and my job, as I know Joan understands, to be focused on the job in hand. Hopefully we have set the record straight.”
Sykes, who has scored four pole positions in five events this year, is currently second in the overall standings.