WSB: Sykes signs two-year extension with Kawasaki

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Tom Sykes has signed a two-year extension with the Kawasaki Racing Team to continue to compete in the Superbike World Championship.

The agreement will see Sykes remain with Kawasaki for an incredible nine seasons, with the Yorkshireman having taken 30 victories and counting for Team Green during his tenure so far.

All but one of Sykes’ 76 World Superbike podiums have come on ZX-10R machinery, as well as his 36 career pole positions as he continues to close in on Troy Corser’s qualifying record.

There had been rumours the 2013 World Champion could defect at the end of this season with reports of a deteriorating relationship with team-mate Jonathan Rea, who is also signed up to ride for the KRT squad until the end of the 2018 season. Sykes has made several digs at what he calls ‘Team 65’ since Rea moved over to Kawasaki from Honda at the start of last year.

“I am really excited to have made a further commitment with KRT and KHI,” said Sykes. “It’s a great feeling to be back with such a great team for another two years. We have already shown the capabilities of the latest model Ninja ZX-10R this season and there is a lot of potential still to come from the bike. I think it is safe to say that we have the best all-round package in the FIM Superbike World Championship and I would like to thank KHI for showing their continued commitment to me as a rider. As well as the bike and the on-track performance I have been part of the Kawasaki family for seven years so it was really natural to continue that relationship.

“To carry on working with my dedicated crew – Marcel, Danilo, Mattia, Raul, Tambu and Ruben and all my other valued colleagues and friends in the team – was priceless as they are widely recognised as the pick of the crop in the WorldSBK paddock. I get so much support from the brilliant fans and passionate Kawasaki owners that it was also a positive decision to make to remain part of that. Another important thing is to continue the development programme, for the road bike and the race bike side of things, which is something I feel an integral part of. The technical aspect of working with the team and KHI is deeply satisfying to me, not just the successes on track.”

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing