The former WorldSBK Champion is looking like a contender as he heads to Phillip Island in a buoyant mood
After a successful test at Portimao, Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) is eager for the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season to start. Seventh on the timesheets for Sykes – one place higher than teammate Eugene Laverty – showed that he has a good pace, even if the 2013 WorldSBK Champion insisted that it wasn’t a true indication or reflection of the work they had been doing.
Working primarily with a whole host of different chassis set-ups, the 34-year-old Huddersfield-native also looked at electronic strategies and braking set-ups during the two dry days of action at Portimao. Pushing on and finding the parameters, Sykes concluded that the direction the team were working in is a huge positive ahead of the new season.
Talking after the test, Sykes said: “I am very happy to have got this one out of the way, we had a big list of things to do and it is a credit to the whole of the team, the guys have worked overtime! We’ve been trying various chassis set-ups, electronic strategies and braking set-ups, it goes on and on! Obviously, it is a little bit frustrating as we had to keep to our own game plan and not focus on what was going on on-track.
“We were able to find a bit of a direction and understand the parameters and just as we would start to gather speed, the guys would stop me in my track, and we’d switch to another chassis set-up. The same would happen again and it has just been one of those precious moments where we were able to do a lot of changes, something that we can’t do in a race weekend. We have something to work towards for Phillip Island.”
Sykes’ first season on the BMW brought with it plenty of highs despite initial technical teething issues. A first front row came at MotorLand Aragon, whilst his first podium came in the soaking wet of Misano. He also clinched a wet weather pole position at home at Donington Park in the UK, before taking a podium in Race 1 and two more rostrums before the season ended.
The 34-time WorldSBK race winner also commended the progress made by the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, saying: “We are moving in a very strong direction and as I’ve said, the picture on the monitor doesn’t tell the full story at all. There’s a lot of things that have been going on on-track and I feel like our performance is quietly quite strong.
“The whole project has moved on, the whole team has done a great job but obviously, the development has been unbelievable. I’m looking forward to the season and things will only keep going in one direction, something that only gives me more motivation.”
Find out if Sykes can return BMW to the Phillip Island podium for the first time since 2013 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!