Brookes: Riding a Ducati is ‘infectious, sad’ to leave, Sykes set for WorldSBK?

Josh Brookes says leaving Ducati makes him ‘sad’ as riding the Panigale V4 R is ‘infectious’, while Tom Sykes looks set for a return to WorldSBK following a difficult return to BSB.
Josh Brookes, Tom Sykes MCE Ducati BSB Brands Hatch
Josh Brookes, Tom Sykes MCE Ducati BSB Brands Hatch

Brookes signed with FHO Racing BMW for the 2023 BSB season prior to last weekend’s season-finale at Brand Hatch, bringing an end to his four-year stint with Ducati. 

The Australian will join Peter Hickman, winner of race two at Brands Hatch, as he makes the switch to BMW machinery for the first time in his BSB career - Brookes competed for BMW during the 2016 WorldSBK campaign.

But speaking after Brands Hatch Brookes couldn’t hide the fact he will be sad not to ride a Ducati next season. 

The two-time BSB champion said: "It’s a sad day for me as I’ve grown to love the MCE Ducati and I’m going to miss riding the bike as I think anyone who rides a Ducati will say its infectious, like motorbikes are in general. 

"I’ve enjoyed my time with the brand and the team as we’ve had a good time together but who knows what the future will bring. 

"As for today, I’d say it’s been my best day on the bike this year so it’s nice to end on a positive note. Seventh is not the result I want but in terms of lap times and consistency, and staying strong right up until the end, I felt better than I have done all year. 

"I kept pushing and was running close to the British Champion so that’s a good achievement in our final race together."

For Brookes’ team-mate Sykes, his return to BSB has been nothing short of a disappointment. 

Improved form towards the end of the season resulted in a double victory at the penultimate round in Donington Park, but for Sykes, who was recently seen at the Portimao WorldSBK round, is expected to seal a move back to the world championship for 2023. 

With whom remains to be seen although Puccetti Kawasaki appears to be his most realistic destination. 

"I can’t deny it’s been a disappointing season as I came to BSB and the PBM team to get involved and fight for the title," added Sykes. 

Tom Sykes, Portuguese WorldSBK Race1, 8 October
Tom Sykes, Portuguese WorldSBK Race1, 8 October

"Unfortunately, we had some restrictions and whilst we showed what we could do at a big circuit like Donington we ultimately couldn’t do that often enough. 

"I’m upset for myself and the team as the level of talent at PBM, in all areas of the garage, deserves a lot more. Sometimes you have difficult seasons and, unfortunately, 2022 has been one of those years. 

"I’m obviously very grateful for the opportunity at PBM and they’ve been a pleasure to work with all year so would like to wish them all the best."

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