Tom Sykes is confident he will enjoy an even stronger World Superbike Championship season in 2013, shrugging off suggestions that the meagre half-point deficit to 2012 champion Max Biaggi is as close as he will get to winning a WSBK title.
Sykes enjoyed an outstanding season on the vastly-improved Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2012, picking up four wins, nine pole positions and 13 podiums to form a last gasp title challenge that famously took him to within 0.5 points of eventual winner Biaggi.
As excruciating as that margin to Biaggi was, Sykes has refused to dwell on that outcome, instead turning his attentions to a renewed campaign in 2013 as he enters into his fourth season as a Kawasaki rider.
Indeed, Sykes feels he stands to have the upper hand next season having decided to remain with Kawasaki, insisting his near-miss in 2012 is not as close as he will ever get to winning the WSBK title.
“I have heard some comments from people that there was my chance gone, but I do not look at it like that. We have done a good job this year and worked hard, found ourselves in a good position. I speak with my crew chief Marcel a lot, and if we had known back in Australia what we know now, I think we would have had an even stronger season.”
“Looking to 2013 I am more than happy now, and really excited and relaxed that I have, first and foremost, continuity,” said Tom. “I am still with a great manufacturer in Kawasaki.
“Everybody has seen how much effort they have put in. Also, all of the team, all the guys working with me, we have a great understanding, and fortunately we are continuing with some great sponsors that are helping all the time. It is all a massive team effort. We have really gelled and it is working well.”
Reflecting on the last round of the season at Magny-Cours, 27-year-old Sykes says he was 'quietly proud' of his achievements during the finale as a win and a 'maximum' third place finish took a sizeable 30 point gap out of Biaggi's 30.5 point margin.
“Next year there is going to be a lot of expectations and I feel I can manage myself in a good way,” he added. “For example, Magny-Cours, the final round of 2012, I was second in the championship when I arrived there, with a lot of pressure to perform.
“All things being said, I handled the pressure very well. We had some limitations in the wet there so I took the maximum points in race one that I felt it was safe to achieve, which was third. In the second race, the championship deciding race, I won that one, so I was quietly proud of that.”
Sykes, who has paced testing since the end of the season, will be joined by Loris Baz for the 2013 World Superbike Championship season.