Probably badly chosen words on my part, his position isnt dire in the table, his general demeanour and finish to the season isnt good at all, if that makes sense, maybe a little past half way to two thirds through the season he got the whisper he was about to be dropped? I am talking about his place in the Yamaha team and possibly WSBK, not the whole of bike racing.
He seemed happy at Oulton Park so maybe he has some decent offers and he is happy again, I do not know?
If he has the bright bubbly enthusiastic personality only if things are going right and he feels like everyone is supporting him, then it is going to be a tough career for him, there is only one winner each season.
I like Tom Sykes he was one of my favourite riders in BSB, so there it has nothing to do with 'if the face fits' that is all in your head.
His teammate is fighting for the championship, only in one race, can I remember Tom helping his team in the constructors championship taking points from Fabrizio, not ideal, he has not got stronger at the end of the season, which you would expect from someone good, who is new to a championship.
Remember that team had a duo of Haga and Corser prior to this season, that is what they expect, so by then end of the season you must be top four or you are in danger of being dropped, they took him on thinking he would improve all of the way.
You are quite right 8th is very good in a riders first year, but not if you team mate is also new and battling for the championship title, it is probably a 'once in a lifetime opportunity' to shine, lost.
Suzuki may be a better fit for him, he suited those bikes as he rode them in the GSXR cup and BSB.