Tom Sykes says there is every chance he could emerge from the final round of the 2012 World Superbikes as the champion, insisting title-elect Max Biaggi could yet suffer some of the poor fortune that has hampered both himself and Marco Melandri in recent rounds.
Sykes comes into the final event of the season at Magny-Cours as Biaggi's closest challenger for the title after a mixed penultimate round at Portimao event saw him claim a third win, but also a costly DNF.
Dropping him 30.5 points off the lead with only two rounds remaining, though Sykes admits the prospect of finishing runner-up in 2012 is a massive achievement in itself for a team that hasn't been a regular victory contender for a decade, he feels there is an opportunity to go one better if he gets a 'little bit of luck'.
“I am looking forward to getting back on my ZX-10R. I am excited to go to Magny Cours as it is a race that has shown some potential for us in the past and the way we have the bike working now is good. I am looking to go there and do our usual thing. Honestly, I am also looking for a little bit of luck.
“I am second in the championship, 30.5 points from the leader, so we need a certain aspect of luck to help us out. But, ultimately, it can happen. It happened to me in race two last week and in the last four races for Melandri. So I hope that we can put in two strong races and come out one place better.
Reflecting on what has been an outstanding breakthrough year for rider and team, even if Sykes has to settle for second or third, both he and Kawasaki will be pleased with the outcome.
“We are second in the championship and if I had been offered that at the beginning of the year, I am sure myself and the whole team would have accepted it. We are here now and we know what we can achieve. No matter what, if we finish top three we will have had a very, very good year.
“We are still mathematically able to win the championship so I think we should try to do something about it. Other people have made mistakes but at the end of the day everyone has had the same opportunities as us. To be lying second is a good achievement. It is where we really are.
“We have learned a lot this year and we have had to work hard at some events just because we are still learning. We have come from a long way back, have been winning races and challenging for race wins and I am sure next year we will be even stronger.”
Sykes has already been confirmed as staying with Kawasaki for 2013, where he will form an unchanged line-up with Loris Baz.