MCN's WSBK rider of the year: 3rd Tom Sykes

Published: 23 December 2016

MCN’s Sports Desk rank the five riders who have impressed them most in the World Superbike Championship during the 2017 season.

3rd – Tom Sykes

  • Best result: 1st
  • Wins: 5
  • Podiums: 20
  • Championship position: 2nd

While 2016 was a strong year once again for 2013 world champion Tom Sykes, it was once again also not the year that the Yorkshireman was after, with five race wins and a strong start to the season not enough to dent the title challenge from teammate Jonathan Rea.

Looking fast all season and with an incredible run of consistency that saw him miss out on the podium in only six of the year’s 26 races, it would have been an effort that in any other year would have left him champion – but for teammate Rea, just as consistent but faster almost all season.

But in the end it came down to Rea to even help Sykes retain second in the championship battle, conceding a place to him in the final race of the year to ensure that Chaz Davies remained back in third after an inconsistent start to the season left him fighting to close down Sykes in the final stages of the year.

And new technical rules for the 2017 season should make Sykes’ job for the future even harder, as the Kawasaki ZX-10RR loses some of it’s advantage just as manufacturer like Honda and Yamaha are rolling out new bikes. In saying that, though, the biggest challenge for Sykes will undoubtedly come from the far side of his own garage.