Tom Sykes 'felt like a right numpty! I'll apologise to the boys later'

Donington Park star Tom Sykes pays the price for 'pushing the boundaries' in Friday practice for his home World Superbike round.
Tom Sykes, Donington Park WorldSBK 2021
Tom Sykes, Donington Park WorldSBK 2021
© Gold and Goose

Donington Park ace Tom Sykes held his hands up after a fast fall at the start of Friday afternoon practice for the 2021 WorldSBK event robbed him of track time.

The Englishman, who won nine races in a row at his home circuit for Kawasaki between 2013-2017, began the day with a competitive third in the opening practice session.

That was despite a small fall from his BMW at the Melbourne Loop, but a much faster accident awaited Sykes when he was caught-out at the start of the afternoon.

"I tell you what... Silly me. I feel like a right numpty! I'm disappointed with myself to be honest," Sykes told Dorna's Steve English after the session.

"This morning the bike was already feeling really good. We made some changes on the back of the recent test and this afternoon on the first flying lap I was faster than my best lap from FP1, but I just got caught out by the warmer track conditions.

"I got into Turn 7 and just as I changed direction and trail braked, I lost the rear very slightly. Then as it unloaded and loaded again, I lost the front. Not much warning.

"I think I'll go up there with my tarmac rake tonight because there's a big step from the grass to the gravel - that took the wind out of my sails and did a lot of damage to the bike!

"The bike eventually got back with 28mins to go and with 12mins to go I was on track, with a new exhaust and everything. So credit to the boys in the team. But I'm still disappointed with myself because we had other things to try."

Sykes went on to finish eleventh in FP2, while his morning time was good enough for sixth on the combined timesheets.

Without a podium since 2019, the former world champion explained part of the reason for his Friday accidents is that he's 'pushing the boundaries' to try and make things happen this weekend.

"I've had two offs today, but that's just because I'm trying to push the boundaries. Normally I'm not one for crashing because I arrive at the limit, try and fix it, then go faster. Today I tried to shortcut a few things and it didn't pay off. I'll apologise to the boys later," he said.

"But I was very comfortable in the low 1m 28.2s in FP1 and as it happens, it's not the end of the world because looking at the forecast it might be raining tomorrow anyway."

Donington is notoriously slippery in the wet and Sykes admits "my eyes will be on stalks.

"I love Donington Park, it's fantastic, but in the wet... and of course there's the Craner Club. Hopefully it won't be as bad as usual due to the ambient temperature with the later race date this year, but everyone will have to watch the left corners tomorrow."

Team-mate Michael van der Mark was the next best BMW rider in tenth place, on a day when Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff set the pace from Kawasaki's reigning champion Jonathan Rea.

Remote video URL

Read More