Tom Sykes says he is refusing to 'do the maths' ahead of the 2013 World Superbike Championship season finale at Jerez despite putting himself well on course to become Kawasaki's first champion in two decades.
Two convincing race wins last time out at Magny-Cours ensure Kawasaki Racing's Sykes carries a substantial 37 point lead over Eugene Laverty into the season finale, with only a maximum of 50 points available. It means Sykes needs just 14 points in Spain to confirm himself as champion – a single third place finish, or two ninth place finishes.
Runner-up to Max Biaggi by just half-a-point last season, Sykes's comfortable margin this year represents a very different scenario for the 28-year-old, but while he acknowledges the advantage is very much with him on this occasion, he remains entirely focused on the job in hand.
“Jerez is a very exciting circuit and it is one which we have tested at in the winter,” he said. “We had a couple of tests there and luckily we have some good track information. Everything is in place for us to go there and start racing again. I hear people saying I need 'X' amount of points or I need to finish in this-or-that position in this race, and so on, but we just need go there and work on our own thing and see what happens after two races.
“I am expecting some of our competition to be strong but we have made improvements on our bike and we will start on Friday morning and see where we are. Jerez is a good circuit to work on to find bike set-up improvements. I am quite relaxed. This will be the last round and it all boils down to the last round – again.
“Last year we were 30.5 points behind at this stage and now we are 37 points in front. We are in a much better position and that is the way I am looking at it. I just want to go and enjoy the weekend like always. Hopefully come Sunday afternoon, if all things go well, then we can really enjoy the weekend.”
Should Sykes seal the title come Sunday, he will become the first Kawasaki rider to win the World Superbike crown since Scott Russell in 1993. On that occasion, the American won the title with five wins and 18 podiums to his name across 26 races – by comparison, Sykes has so far won nine races and 16 podiums.
Only Laverty and his Aprilia team-mate Sylvain Guintoli can mathematically prevent Sykes from claiming the title, the pair 37 and 38 points adrift respectively, though both are still well placed to claim the manufacturers' title for the Italian firm.