Kawasaki has announced that Tom Sykes will stay with the manufacturer for a fourth consecutive season as both parties set their sights on the 2013 World Superbike Championship title.
Sykes, who joined the manufacturer in 2010 after finishing ninth in his rookie season with Yamaha, has made significant progress since his first appearance on the ZX-10R, anchoring a partnership that has now yielded two race wins, nine podiums and nine pole positions.
Indeed, the 2012 season has proven to be a breakthrough year for both Sykes and Kawasaki, with the British rider claiming a win, eight podiums and seven pole positions this season alone, a run of form that currently sees him holding down third position overall.
As it stands, Sykes is propelling Kawasaki towards its best WSBK campaign since Scott Russell's title winning efforts back in 1993, a performance that has prompted the manufacturer to move early to secure his services for another season.
A big boost for Sykes, who was almost controversially left out of this year's Kawasaki line-up, he feels another season together offers the chance for him to challenge for the title in 2013.
“It has been fantastic to make a commitment quite early in the season,” he said. “It's great to be on the good end of the silly season because that is a weight off my shoulders and I think I have proved my worth this year. Last year did not reflect my potential, I do not feel, but this year I was able to demonstrate what I believe I can do. Obviously Kawasaki has done an absolutely fantastic job, an outstanding amount of work and put in so much effort. Everybody can see what we have done this year.
“I have a fantastic bunch of guys working with me, all my guys in the garage. It is a good team effort, well managed, very professional and I could not ask for any more. That is another reason why I really pushed to stay with Kawasaki. It is a factory team with direct input from KHI, so there are lots of pros for me deciding to stay. This is my third year with Kawasaki and we have had so much bad luck that, despite still being third in the points, we could even have been a couple of places higher at this stage.”
“It is my goal to be World Superbike Champion and I feel we can achieve that sooner or later. We have done so much hard work this year I would not want to miss out on the benefits of all that next year. For sure we can be stronger and we are learning all the time, so we have not seen the full potential of the bike and myself yet.
“Working directly with the factory I have 100 per cent faith in the technicians back in Japan. When I have been there a couple of times they have been very welcoming and supportive. They fully trust my feedback and the direction I want to go in. For me, that is priceless and makes me feel even more comfortable. To continue that relationship is a key in being able to fight for the championship.”