Tom Sykes will start his latest championship push in a few days and his aim is clear enough again - to regain the title he won in 2013 and came close to winning in 2012 and again last year.
It is impossible for Sykes to look towards at 2015 without a big backwards stare at losing the title by only six points last season. “Last year was a big disappointment,” he said at his team’s official launch recently. “Things happen for a reason and it was very unfortunate. We have had three possible years where we could have been world champions. In 2015 there is a slight change in regulations but Kawasaki are working very hard so we are really looking forward to a new challenge.”
Sykes has been a vocal critic of the less liberal WSB technical regulations in 2015, but as he has shown in testing it has not affected his pace much. “The rule changes are there and we have to deal with them,” said Sykes. “It is my job as a rider to try and manage those. And the job of the crew chief and my team to try and manage the limitations. We will work with it. At the moment I think the rules certainly seem to favour manufacturers such as Ducati. If it does it just gives us something more clear to aim at. I like to develop things to the best but obviously now we have more restrictions and we have to make more compromises. We have not seen the true potential of the rule changes but we will know more when we get to PI, and back into Europe when the weather is hot. Finally, the rules were not changed as much as we first anticipated.”
Much has been made of a potential rift with his new team-mate Rea, especially after some harsh words between them last year, not to mention the complete collapse of his relationship with his team-mate Loris Baz last year. For Sykes, this is not an issue right now.
“I am easy going and I’ll talk to anybody; I don’t have a problem with anybody,” said Sykes, with one caveat. “Unless they create one for me, I suppose. I have known Jonathan since I was racing against him in Britain and we are off to a good start in the Kawasaki camp. Our relationship is good and it would be nice if it continues like that. It can only be a benefit for Kawasaki to have two strong riders in their line-up.”