Fresh from his second World Superbike Championship win of the season in Russia, Tom Sykes is heading to the scene of his first ever victory at the Nurburgring confident that a similar performance can spur him on to a late title challenge.
The Englishman notched up a surprise victory for Kawasaki in Germany last season after assuming the lead from a crashed Noriyuki Haga just moments before the race was halted due to adverse weather conditions.
Marking Kawasaki's first WSBK win in six years, though the unpredictable conditions at the time raised doubts as to whether Sykes could replicate that form in the dry, he has since gone on two win two races this season, at Monza (where half-points were awarded when the race was stopped early) and at the Moscow Raceway.
With the Moscow win proving his first full-distance dry victory, Sykes feels he has turned a corner in terms of set-up and momentum, form he is optimistic of replicating at the Nurburgring, where he has performed well in previous years on the ZX-10R.
“We go to Germany now and the recent form of the Ninja ZX-10R is great, so we are obviously a lot closer in the ballpark to where we need to be with the overall set-up,” he said. “Germany should be good for us - going on the results we have had there in the past. We got a win last year there. OK, in wet conditions of course, but even in the dry we have been quite close to the front there, which fills me with a bit more excitement for this weekend.”
Having scored podiums in four of the last six races, Sykes has consolidated his third place in the overall standings and remains in the hunt for the overall title, 41 points adrift of leader Marco Melandri and 22.5 points behind second place Max Biaggi.
“The current package we have now is even better and that means that we have to go to Germany with the aim of collecting lots more points. People ask me about the positions in the points rankings now and realistically it is still possible to win the championship. The goal is obviously to keep inside the top three and keep pushing.”