"Action so far has been fantastic, Toprak doing a great job" – Sykes on WorldSBK in 2024, aiming for return?

Friday, 14 June 2024 10:17 GMT

The 2013 World Champion was on hand at Misano to give his view on World Superbike this year, BMW’s progress and more

Although he’s not currently competing in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Tom Sykes has been a visitor to the paddock on a couple of occasions this year, including at the ongoing Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round. Speaking during FP1, the 2013 World Champion covered a variety of topics, including why he’s at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, how his former rivals are getting on and whether a return to the grid might be on the cards.

Sykes last competed in WorldSBK in 2023, first with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing and then the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team after splitting from Puccetti Kawasaki, standing in to replace the injured Michael van der Mark. The Briton showed strong pace, particularly at Donington Park, but a crash left him with rib injuries which prematurely ended his stand-in duties with the German manufacturer. At Misano, Sykes discussed why he was visiting once again.

“Firstly, I think you’re quite rude interrupting my morning cappuccino!”, Sykes began in typical humorous fashion when asked during Free Practice 1. “I love racing, full stop. I’ve come out here, spectating. It would be nice to have a few conversations, but, for now, I’m just enjoying this lovely circuit and the sunshine.”

Despite not racing in WorldSBK for almost a year, Sykes gave his opinion on how he thinks he’d fare on the right package and BMW, the manufacturer he raced for between 2019 and 2021, before returning in 2023, where he claimed six podiums and three poles. He also spoke briefly about Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) and his difficult start to 2024 after switching from Kawasaki to Yamaha.

Asked about his view on WorldSBK and whether he was missing it, Sykes replied: “I feel like I could join the action on the right package. I think the action so far has been fantastic. I think Toprak is doing a great job so far – I think he’s where I expected him to take the bike. It’s a shame to see Jonny struggling.”

After competing in half a season last year and not being able to secure a ride for 2024, the Yorkshireman’s attentions have turned to potentially securing a ride for next season. On this, the 38-year-old said: “I’m sure everyone knows it’s not long before you get to serious, serious discussions. I’m fully motivated and that’s the end goal.”

Follow all the action from Misano in style using the WorldSBK VideoPass!