BMW’s Tom Sykes looked to have a safe maiden podium for the new, factory team in the opening Imola WorldSBK race today but a ‘power management’ problem saw him forced to retire.
Sykes made serious ground in the opening lap and managed to get himself in behind Alvaro Bautista but the former champion ground to a halt at half distance.
“To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. We’ve worked so hard all weekend and we really improved some areas on the BMW S1000RR,” said Sykes.
“We dug deep at the start and had a good position but then unfortunately had an issue with the bike. We had the pace today, we had a bit of luck with Chaz not being in the race and we had a top-three position in our sight.
We had a nice gap to the riders behind and I was just settling into a rhythm; the times were very consistent. It just seems we have a lot of bad luck at the moment so hopefully we’ll have a better day tomorrow.”
Team boss Shaun Muir revealed a clever tyre choice had been made for Sykes but he wasn’t able to use it to full effect.
“For Tom, it’s really sad. Five rounds into our first year in WorldSBK with this project and the new RR – and we were not only fighting for the podium, we were on the podium.
“Then a cruel small issue put an end to his race so I feel very, very sorry for Tom and everyone on his side of the garage because they work really hard.
“They’ve made a clever tyre choice that worked very well and he had a very good start and everything was there in front of him. We now must build on that and come back stronger.”