Last night it was confirmed that Tom Sykes and Kawasaki would go their separate ways at the end of the 2018 Superbike World Championship after a nine-year partnership.
Over the last decade, the Huddersfield rider has won 34 races for Kawasaki, finished on the podium 105 times, won the 2013 world title and achieved more pole positions than anyone in the history of World Superbike.
“I feel the time has arrived; the moment to make a change in my career and seek new challenges,” Sykes said as the split was announced, but what those new challenges might be are yet to become clear.
Sykes had initially been linked to a move to the PATA Yamaha team in a direct swap with Michael van der Mark who was tipped to move to Kawasaki. That deal is now off the table and with both Van der Mark and team-mate Lowes looking set to stay where they are.
Then came the gossip that Sykes could feature in the new GRT Yamaha squad as the reigning World Supersport champions step up to Superbike next year. However, it’s now thought Marco Melandri will take one seat with one of GRT’s two Supersport riders filling the other.
That leaves Sykes with limited options… there’ll be a seat at Red Bull Honda alongside Leon Camier and Shaun Muir has yet to firm his plans up for 2019 in regards to both riders and machinery.
Should nothing materialise in World Superbikes, a return to BSB could be on the cards and you’d have to think Sykes wouldn’t be short of options there, however, sources close to the Yorkshireman have told MCN that while a BSB return is possible, it’s unlikely.