Sykes "had slightly different approach" in Mandalika Race 2, remains coy on future

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 08:34 GMT

The 2013 Champion returned from injury in Indonesia to claim a double top-ten finish, including a fifth place, at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit

After three seasons with the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Tom Sykes’ stint with the German manufacturer has come to an end after the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s visit to Indonesia. At the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, the 2013 World Champion returned from injury after missing three rounds with Sykes claiming a double top-ten finish at the Pirelli Indonesian Round.

Having missed the Spanish, Portuguese and Argentinean Rounds due to an injury sustained in a Race 2 crash at the Catalunya Round, Sykes returned to the paddock for his final round on BMW machinery, having learnt earlier in the year that Scott Redding would partner Michael van der Mark at the team for 2022.

Sykes secured a second row start for both Race 1 and Race 2 after he claimed sixth place in the Tissot Superpole session. In Race 1, the British rider fell down the order to finish in tenth place and withstood a late challenge from Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Race 2 was delayed due to inclement weather, and then shortened to 12 laps, but Sykes was able to move up the order this time to claim fifth place while teammate van der Mark was on the podium as BMW ended their first season with the M 1000 RR bike with two riders in the top five.

Looking back at the Indonesian Round, Sykes said: “Not much to say about Race 1 this morning. I got a good start, or let’s say the launch, but then after that I ran out of talent! On the drag down to the first corner, dropped a good few positions. After that, I was able to recover a little bit and get on to the back of the leading group. Good Superpole, good start to the race and for me I’d done all the hard work. We had some limitations, and I just wasn’t able to stay in that position. I tried to ride around some of those, take a different approach to the corners and ran wide a good few times. In the end I probably cost myself between ten and 12 seconds. In Race 2, I would say congratulations to the guys at the front, especially Michael as he got the result he deserved. From my side, I probably had a slightly different approach to Michael but to be in the top five coming back from an injury; just building all the time. Honestly, great venue, great circuit to end the season and now we’ll go into the winter.”

As it stands, Sykes does not have a WorldSBK seat for 2022 after BMW opted to bring in Redding from Ducati. After 349 races so far, 51 poles, 114 podiums and 34 victories, as well as the 2013 World Championship, Sykes will be hoping he can add to this record but remained coy when discussing his future after the Indonesian Round.

He said: “Every day there’s always updates! Joking aside, there’s nothing confirmed. There’s some great opportunities and possibilities which, for sure, I will be looking at more in detail after my return from here. Honestly, nothing that’s there really. Nothing that’s fixed. Which is strange, we’re well into November now. I’m lucky to have the interest that I’ve got. We’ll see what we can do for 2022.”

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