Kawasaki Racing's Tom Sykes says he can 'sleep better at night' knowing he has a package capable of challenging for regular race wins and not just pole positions.
Though a four-time race winner in 2012 on the way to falling just half a point shy of winning the overall title, Sykes's scintillating qualifying performances often brought into focus a relative lack of consistency over a longer distance come race day.
As such, Sykes and Kawasaki put in the miles to improve the overall package over the winter, most notably tyre life at the end of a race, a concerted effort that has reaped rewards already this year with three wins for the 27-year-old.
Indeed, Sykes feels he can relax more knowing he now has a bike capable of strong lap times over a race distance, not to mention its magnificent pace over a single lap.
“It's a really nice weight off my shoulders,” he told Crash.net
. “As a rider, it is great to have a good package underneath you over a race distance and we have shown this year that we have put in the work to address the tyre life issue. It makes me more relaxed and it helps me sleep well at night!”
Vindicated by his results this season, which currently leave him just four points off leader Sylvain Guintoli in the overall standings, Sykes feels his performances are indicative of the continued progress being made by the Kawasaki team behind-the-scenes.
Better still, Sykes feels there is still plenty more to come from the ZX-10R, pointing out that the manufacturer had to start almost from scratch with this model following years of under-achievement.
“There is definitely more to come from the Ninja, there is no question,” he added. “There are some areas where we are working on and this makes me excited. The ZX-10R was a new model a couple of years ago and we didn't have the luxury to come off the back of a good previous model, so I think a lot of credit has to go to Kawasaki.”
Since joining Kawasaki, Sykes has amassed eight wins and 15 pole positions – the latter statistic putting him sixth on the all-time list.