Alongside Leon Haslam, Sykes’ return to BSB made headlines during the off-season as the former WorldSBK champion elected to join MCE Ducati. 

Thought of as championship contender heading into the season opener at Silverstone, Sykes and all Ducati riders struggled mightily. 

It must be said that Silverstone has been somewhat of a bogey track for Ducati - Glenn Irwin was the last rider to win aboard a Panigale V4 R (2017) at the 3.6 mile circuit - however, no top ten finishes for both Sykes and his two-time BSB champion team-mate Josh Brookes was certainly a surprise at round one. 

"To say round one was a disappointment is a massive under-statement, so we need to turn things around this weekend at Oulton," added Sykes. "I spent a lot of time working on various settings at the recent test, so I wasn’t chasing a lap time like the other riders.

"Hopefully we now have a set-up to allow us to run at the front as Oulton will suit the MCE Ducati so much better than Silverstone. I have great memories of the place and it’s a fantastic track so hopefully we can get the results we need this weekend." 

On the other end of the spectrum, Oulton Park has traditionally been one of the better venues for Ducati, and in particular Brookes. 

Christian Iddon, Scott Redding and going back a few years, Shane ‘Shakey’ Bryne, have also enjoyed success at Oulton with Ducati. 

In terms of what to expect from Sykes, the ex-Kawasaki and BMW rider will be expected to challenge for the top five given his previous success at Oulton (two wins) and Ducati’s recent exploits. 

Can Jason O’Halloran kick his 2022 BSB title charge in gear?

One of the biggest surprises at Silverstone was O’Halloran being beaten by at least one Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha in every race. 

Picked by many as the pre-season favourite, O’Halloran is going in search of not only a first win of the year, but first podium. 

O’Halloran said: "Silverstone was the most laps we’d done on this bike all year and we learned quite a bit there, but heading to Oulton for the test last week was very valuable.

"We think we know which direction to go in to get closer to the front, so I’m really looking forward to trying that. We weren’t far off in the test, but with a few changes I think we can be right up there." 

Tarran Mackenzie unsure of Oulton Park return 

After missing both the season opener and his planned WorldSBK debut at Assen last weekend, Mackenzie is hoping to get his title defence underway with a return at Oulton Park. 

Although progress regarding his right ankle has been made, a final check-up before the weekend will be taken in order to assess whether he’s fit to compete or not. 

"My ankle felt quite a bit better just a few days after I had the cast off," said the 2021 series winner. "I’ve got a bit more movement than we had expected. I’ve been seeing my physio every day and have been undergoing some light training too. 

"Oulton is a physically demanding track, but if I’m passed fit we’ll give it a go in practice and see how I’m feeling from there."

Oulton Park has a different schedule than normal - on-track action gets underway on Saturday with FP1 and FP2. That’s then followed by FP3, Qualifying and Race one on Sunday, before bank holiday Monday sees Race two and Race three conclude the weekend.