Tom Sykes says the penultimate round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours is 'crunch time' for his bid to defend his title, though he insists he remains 'very relaxed' coming into the weekend.

The Kawasaki Racing rider remains on the right course to become the first rider to defend a WSBK crown since Carl Fogarty in 1999, despite having his lead cut to 31 points by Sylvain Guintoli last time out in Jerez.

With two rounds and four races remaining now, Sykes admits the French event could prove pivotal to the outcome of this year's title race, but points out he comes into the weekend with the largest margin for error and is thus feeling calm.

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"A big weekend coming up and it is potentially getting down towards crunch time. I am very relaxed and yet also excited to go to Magny Cours. It is a circuit we have done very well at in the past so I am looking forward to getting back on my Ninja ZX-10R.

"Despite scoring a podium in race two at Jerez we had a few issues at the previous round, especially in race one, so I am hoping we can be a lot stronger this time out. At this present time we are in a good championship position with the biggest margin for error. Hopefully we can stretch it a bit more this weekend."

Sykes has a strong record at Magny-Cours, his dominant double victory in France last season often considered the defining moment of his run to the title.

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Frankly it is Sykes's to lose.
Melandri may get in the way but he is too far back.
Guintoli doesn't have what it takes.
Expect Sykes to be the champion again.