Kawasaki have today confirmed that Tom Sykes will leave their WorldSBK squad at the end of this season.
Sykes has had a rough time over the past few years with various regulation changes moving the bikes further away from where he wants them. That, combined with some serious personal issues, have seen his performances drop below where he would expect them.
“I feel the time has arrived; the moment to make a change in my career and seek new challenges. Having the motivation to push to your limits and that of your machine is all the more important when you look for the victory at every race and I feel I have given all I can within KRT,” said Sykes.
“I am now the best rider I have ever been, and I have the experience and performance to keep winning. So now I have decided to make a step away from the KRT project for 2019 and look for new goals and challenges. I will now concentrate to finish on the podium for the last four rounds of 2018.
“I am determined to enjoy my racing and making this announcement effectively ends all speculation. The timing of this big career decision is never easy but it is especially difficult as my personal life also faces big changes. Regarding this I feel the weight of pressure has been slightly lifted from my shoulders and I am sure 2019 will allow me to operate at full capacity.”
Kawasaki will more than likely announce Leon Haslam as his replacement in coming days but it is not yet clear where Sykes will end up. He has been linked with a move to Shaun Muir’s team and also to Pata Yamaha, although that is fairly unlikely.
Sykes’ WorldSBK stats
Nine Years with Kawasaki in WorldSBK (8 with KRT and 1 with PBM)
World Champion 2013 for Kawasaki
Career Race Starts: 252 (222 for Kawasaki)
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 106 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 46 (46 for Kawasaki) – SBK Record
Career Front Row Starts: 76 (76 for Kawasaki)
Career Fastest Laps: 38 (38 for Kawasaki)