BSB Test: Sykes 'barely worked up a sweat', find out what 'surprised' Mackenzie

Tom Sykes says he ‘barely worked up a sweat’ to go underneath the existing British Superbike lap record at Snetterton, but still claims to be on the backfoot.
Tom Sykes Ducati BSB
Tom Sykes Ducati BSB

Sykes’ best lap came on day-two of the opening British Superbike pre-season test, an impressive feat given it was his first appearance in BSB since 2010. 

Add the fact Sykes was making his Ducati debut after spending most of his WorldSBK career with Kawasaki, and it was an overall very impressive showing from the 2013 world champion. 

Like his team-mate Josh Brookes, Sykes elected to complete just one test session out of three during Sunday’s final day, however, only McAMS Yamaha rider Jason O’Halloran was able to go quicker on combined times, meaning his day-two time was enough to retain a top two finish. 

"It was a great experience but not too difficult for me as I was used to WSBK settings," Sykes told Bikesport News. "In fact, I barely worked up a sweat to get the performance I did. And I didn’t have to take it to its full potential. 

"There is a lot of difference between what I was riding there and what is allowed here. But I am sure we can get more and am looking forward to it."

While winning at world championship level is an achievement only a few riders manage to do with regularity, Sykes is aware that returning to British Superbike is set to provide just as tough a challenge, a championship renowned for its competitive nature. 

Therefore the new MCE Ducati rider is not expecting to have things all his own way.

Tom Sykes BSB Snetterton
Tom Sykes BSB Snetterton

Sykes continued by saying: "But I am under no illusions, I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m used to world championship circuits where there are a lot of flowing corners and you get big lean angles and you can make the most of the chassis and tyres. And, of course, electronics.

"People will make the argument that here is all about talent because you have more normal bikes. 

"I disagree but you can’t argue with the talent here, there are some really good guys. 

"I have to say I am a little bit on the back foot regarding issues on the some of the circuits, the bumps, the undulations etc. But that’s what testing is for."

One rider who will without doubt be a thorn in Sykes’s side as it relates to winning the title, is current champion Tarran Mackenzie. 

Tarran Mackenzie BSB
Tarran Mackenzie BSB

The Yamaha man was very strong during the Snetterton test, which comes after being without on-bike action since January due to suffering a broken arm in Cartagena.

Regularly challenging the top times on day-three, Mackenzie’s level of performance even surprised himself.

The 2023 WorldSBK hopeful said: "Overall I’m really happy, having had two months of pretty much nothing but recovery and little training I didn’t know how I’d feel on the bike. I’ve surprised myself a little bit as I didn’t feel too bad with my shoulder or fitness wise either.

"Over the last two days I have got more confident and comfortable with the bike, which was pretty much the same as it was at Snetterton last year, so it was just about doing laps and getting the feeling back.

"In the last run we made a little change to the bike which helped a lot and I gained some confidence, it was only seven laps, but it was the longest run I’d done over the three days so I was happy with that. It’s put us in a good direction with myself and the bike moving forward."

BSB riders will now head to Donington Park for a one-day test on March 31st.

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