Tom Sykes is confident his Kawasaki Racing Team has made sufficient power delivery alterations to increase torque which will fight against its maximum RPM limit introduced by the new World Superbike technical regulations.

In order to shake up the series for 2018 and reign in the Kawasaki and Ducati domination, World Superbike rule makes introduced maximum rev limits with the most successful manufacturers penalised with less revs with the goal of creating better parity between different bikes.

For the start of this year, Kawasaki has 600RPM fewer than the majority of its four-cylinder rivals (aside from Honda which keeps hold of just 200RPM more than its Japanese rival), while the v-twin Ducati has seen its maximum RPM dropped to 12,400.

The rule changes, along with concession points and parts, still saw the 2018 season opener dominated by Kawasaki and Ducati machinery with Marco Melandri sweeping to a double victory for Racing Ducati, while Sykes and teammate Jonathan Rea each shared a podium each for Kawasaki.

Despite the RPM penalty, Sykes is confident he can continue to fight for race wins at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand thanks to power delivery tweaks to give him higher torque and acceleration.

“I am very much looking forward to Chang,” Sykes said. “It is a very different track to Phillip Island and that is what gives us confidence. Thailand’s layout has a much more European feel compared to Phillip Island.

“The new rules for 2018 make for quite a big difference in the engine but we have moved the power to have more torque and more bottom end out of the turns.

“We were really happy with round one in Australia and our performance over the weekend was nice. I was very impressed with the bike as we had a fantastic set up. I led for most of race one but we did not quite have the tyre to fight right at the end.”

Having taken Superpole at the 2018 opener in Australia, Sykes has now drawn level with Troy Corser on the highest number of pole positions in World Superbikes and duly has the chance to take the outright record in Thailand – a circuit he’s never claimed pole at despite taking one win and four rostrums.

“I won’t be any more keen to win Superpole in Thailand than I would be normally, but it would be good to get one more and put my name at the top of the all-time list,” he said.


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