So it was fantastic news for Tom to stay in Superbike in 2010, in a top team, and now he is Tom Sykes: Kawasaki World Superbike Racing Team rider. Now out of his 2009 contract period, Tom spoke to WorldSBK.com about his hopes for 2010.
How important was it for you to stay in World Superbike in 2010, rather than go back to the UK?
"I think that was very important really. I think there was no reason why I could not have got into a good team in the UK and got all the results needed to win the championship, but I had only had one year in SBK and I wanted to stay in it for several years."
How is your late season shoulder injury now?
"It is starting to work out OK now. The amount of pain I was in at the final round in Portugal meant I was struggling to do things as simple as brushing my teeth! So I knew something was wrong. Now riding the bike is good, but it can be sore the next day. It is not perfect yet but we are building on it."
How do you feel about your 2010 opportunity with Kawasaki?
"I am very happy to be with Kawasaki and Paul Bird and I hope we can help to turn their fortunes around now. We are getting an understanding of what is required now and we have got in some good winter testing. There are some key areas of the bike that I am very happy with and a couple of areas where I feel we can improve, but that is the same story in every case. In one test recently I made a couple of slight little changes to the bike and ended going a couple of seconds a lap faster, a very short time later. The bike has a lot of potential and I am looking forward to doing a bit more testing and then going racing."