WSB: Tom Sykes joins Kawasaki Puccetti Racing for 2023

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Tom Sykes will return to the World Superbike Championship in 2023 after signing for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing.

Sykes competed in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the first time since 2008 this season, but endured a difficult campaign onboard the PBM Ducati. Aside from two victories at his beloved Donington Park, Sykes struggled to adapt and failed to qualify for the Showdown.

The 2013 World Champion will now return to Kawasaki, the manufacturer which helped his secure the crown. Sykes won 34 times for the Japanese manufacturer and also finished as runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2016. In fact, Sykes finished inside the top three every year between 2012 and 2017 for Kawasaki.

“I’m really happy to be joining Kawasaki Puccetti Racing and returning to the WorldSBK paddock,” Sykes said. “For years, I’ve been impressed by the way in which Manuel Puccetti manages his team and by the mentality with which he goes racing, as well as the team’s infrastructure of course.

“All aspects that mean I’m highly motivated ahead of the 2023 racing season. I also have another opportunity, in that I’ll be part of the Kawasaki family once more, building on a relationship that has always been very solid. I can’t wait to get started on this project and get to know the whole team.”

Tom Sykes celebrates his 2013 title success at Jerez

Sykes swapped Kawasaki for BMW in 2019, securing four podiums on his way to eight in the championship. The next two years proved to be difficult with Sykes ending his campaigns in 12th and 11th respectively, securing just two podiums.

“It’s truly a great pleasure for me and the team to welcome a World Champion like Tom Sykes,” Manuel Puccetti said. “I’m sure that, together, we can learn and grow, also harnessing his significant testing experience to make our Ninja even more competitive. With a rider of his calibre, our goal can be nothing less than top five.

“We have already arranged a test schedule, starting in Jerez in December, when we will start to mould our Ninja around Tom. We will then continue with tests in the wind tunnel and further track tests in January. The entire team is very excited to welcome a top rider like Tom.”

Sykes arrival sees Lucas Mahias depart the team after four years. The Frenchman spent two years as a Supersport rider for Puccetti, finishing fourth overall in 2019 and then runner-up in 2020. During that time, Mahias won four races and recorded a total of 14 podiums. A move to the Superbike class followed in 2021.

“I also want to thank Lucas Mahias for the four years we have spent together,” Puccetti added. “We enjoyed success and satisfaction in Supersport while in Superbike, despite a positive performance overall, we had to deal with some injuries that prevented us from achieving the kind of results he and our team deserved. We wish Lucas all the very best for a bright future.”