Fire still burns, but ‘one of the secrets to racing is being realistic’ - Sykes

2013 WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes has not lost hope of challenging for victories although ‘one of the secrets to racing is being realistic’, says the Puccetti Kawasaki rider.
Tom Sykes, Puccetti Kawasaki WorldSBK Jerez 2023
Tom Sykes, Puccetti Kawasaki WorldSBK Jerez 2023

Following a difficult 2022 campaign, Sykes agreed to leave the British Superbike championship and take another shot in WorldSBK. 

Replacing the now former WorldSBK rider, Lucas Mahias, Sykes also returns to Kawasaki machinery where he’s enjoyed the bulk of his Superbike success, after spending the 2022 season with Ducati. 

While far from a rookie in WorldSBK, Sykes is part of a talented and hugely successful influx of new riders to the 2023 grid.

Danilo Petrucci, Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter are just some of the names that have arrived to the Superbike championship in 2023, along with Sykes who remains the second most successful rider in the class behind Jonathan Rea. 

Speaking about his return during last week’s Portimao test, Sykes told "It's fantastic to be back here in the WorldSBK paddock. I’ve got a lot of fantastic memories here, a lot of history, a lot of good friends. 

"It was quite a natural step and one that I’m so far enjoying. With regards to an Independent team, I think I’m very lucky to be with Manuel and the whole of the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team because, as far as Independent teams go, they’re certainly one of the strongest, if not the strongest. 

"It’s going to be a challenge but I’m one looking forward to. The goal is always to win and always to be competitive. 

"That’s the desire. I think one of the secrets to racing is being realistic and understanding where you can be."

In terms of on-track results, Sykes began the 2023 pre-season testing calendar by finishing 17th in Jerez - 2.4s down on Toprak Razgatlioglu - before turning that into a P13 finish in Portimao, this time 1.5s away from top spot which was held by Alvaro Bautista

"We’ve tried various settings and I felt increasingly comfortable on the bike," added Sykes. "We continued with the work begun at Jerez and this made for two very constructive days in which we collected a lot of important data that’s going to be very useful."

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