News 29 Oct 2009

WSBK: Sykes confirmed by Kawasaki for WSBK team next year


The Kawasaki World Superbike Racing Team has completed its 2010 season rider line-up by signing Tom Sykes to compete alongside Chris Vermeulen on the officially entered Ninja ZX-10R machines.
Sykes Joins Kawasaki For 2010 Season
Sykes finished his first full WSB season last Sunday, in ninth place overall.

The jovial and popular Yorkshireman is a product of the strong UK racing scene and has indeed ridden for Kawasaki World Superbike Racing team principle Paul Bird’s BSB team in 2007, with five podium finishes to his credit that year. Tom also has a second place WSB race finish on his CV, when riding as a wildcard at Brands Hatch in 2008.

Sykes is a highly rated rider and although still only 24 years old Tom already has great experience on four-cylinder Superbikes, combined with a vast potential for future development.

The entire Kawasaki World Superbike Racing team would like to take this opportunity to bid a fond farewell to current rider Broc Parkes, who will move on at the end of the season. All in the Kawasaki family would like to publicly acknowledge the efforts and determination shown by Broc in his return to the WSB class in 2009.

Said Sykes of his move to Kawasaki in 2010, “I’m very excited to join Kawasaki and the Paul Bird team. I have worked with Paul before and the team is full of very capable people. It is good for me to be still working with a manufacturer and I see a lot of potential in the project. We all want to achieve the same goal. I learned a lot in my first full WSB season and I feel next year I can put that into practice. I am very fortunate to be in the situation I am in now, joining with Kawasaki, and I think 2010 is going to be a very exciting time. I have only spoken to Chris Vermeulen a couple of times but I am sure we will get on great. He seems very laid back and a down-to-earth sort of guy. The good thing for the team and myself is that he is very experienced and will bring a lot to the table. I am sure we can be a good partnership.”

Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki European Race Planning Manager said, “It was great to see that Tom’s sights were clearly set on joining our factory-backed Kawasaki World Superbike Racing Team even from our first discussions with him. As we had confirmed the signing of Chris Vermeulen recently, it was important for us to confirm another top rider who could work well within the team set-up. We have a good winter test schedule planned so we can be ready for next season. Tom is relatively local to the team and knows many of them well from their past successes together in BSB. He is still young and will not need to make so many adaptions to his style to familiarise himself with our Ninja ZX-10R. I think he’s going to surprise a few people!”

Ichiro Yoda, Director of Kawasaki Motors Racing stated, “Tom has experience of working together with the PBM team and because he knows the team well he should feel at home. This means he can relax, even under pressure. He also has experience of other manufacturers and this will give him useful knowledge to make quick progress for Kawasaki and alongside Chris. I am looking forward to us working together.”

Paul Bird, PBM Team Owner, said, “I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to sign both Chris and Tom, as they are both fantastic riders and I know they’ll do a great job for us next season. Chris has proved how competitive he is on a Superbike as his results demonstrate and I’ve always rated Tom highly, that’s why I handed him his first proper Superbike ride back in 2007. The team has made huge strides forward this year and we can now put into practice what we have learned and I fully expect us to be challenging at the sharp end in 2010. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to both Broc and Makoto for their hard work, professionalism and dedication during the past season and myself and the whole team wishes them both well for the future.”