Tom Sykes will remain a Kawasaki Racing Team rider in the World Superbike Championship for the next two seasons after putting pen to paper on a new deal with the Japanese manufacturer.
Marking the continuation of his long-standing relationship with Kawasaki, which began back in 2010, Sykes has gone on to enjoy significant success with the firm ever since, notching up 30 race wins and the World Superbike title in 2013.
Also now second on the all-time list for pole positions having scored his 36th at the most recent Misano round, Sykes' deal means an unchanged rider line-up at Kawasaki for 2017 and 2018 after defending champion Jonathan Rea was confirmed in May.
Indeed, though Sykes was reportedly approached by Ducati for 2017, the Englishman says the strength of the ZX-10R package compared to its rivals made the decision to commit easier.
“I am really excited to have made a further commitment with KRT and KHI. It's a great feeling to be back with such a great team for another two years. We have already shown the capabilities of the latest model Ninja ZX-10R this season and there is a lot of potential still to come from the bike. I think it is safe to say that we have the best all-round package in the FIM Superbike World Championship and I would like to thank KHI for showing their continued commitment to me as a rider.
“As well as the bike and the on-track performance I have been part of the Kawasaki family for seven years so it was really natural to continue that relationship. To carry on working with my dedicated crew - Marcel, Danilo, Mattia, Raul, Tambu and Ruben and all my other valued colleagues and friends in the team - was priceless as they are widely recognised as the pick of the crop in the WorldSBK paddock.
“I get so much support from the brilliant fans and passionate Kawasaki owners that it was also a positive decision to make to remain part of that. Another important thing is to continue the development programme, for the road bike and the race bike side of things, which is something I feel an integral part of. The technical aspect of working with the team and KHI is deeply satisfying to me, not just the successes on track.”
Though Sykes has struggled to react to the pace of team-mate Rea – who dominated the 2015 championship in his first season with the manufacturer – since he arrived, they have enjoyed fairly similar form in recent rounds.
Indeed, whilst Rea is well on course to defend his title having opened up a 56 point lead over his counterpart in the standings, Sykes is in turn 33 points clear of third place Chaz Davies.