BMW Motorrad’s Tom Sykes has had some good and back luck this year but in WorldSBK race one at Laguna , after qualifying fourth quickest, he was only a couple of seconds from eventual third place man, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki).
Sykes was one of the roulette players who bet on an SCX rear tyre, but Sykes being Sykes, it was only a partial gamble, with a lot of thought behind it and something special from the S1000RR…
“We are here to try things, and I said to Charlie (Hiscott, of Eurosport roving microphone fame) on the grid, ‘We are taking a little chance.’ We are still trying things out on the new S1000RR. Looking back I think fourth position is really good because the weekend has been difficult because we have had to find good electronic set-up with the engine brake, traction, all those parameters,” Sykes told bikesportnews.com.
“Then we had to mess around with the gearing to get that correct, then we had to try and find a little bit of traction with the bike. I found a step I Superpole. And then the ‘X’, why not? We took a gamble because we are clearly quite gentle in terms of tyre wear. But we took a gamble in terms of tyre wear.
You can argue that we may have been stronger one but honestly we got a very solid and safe fourth position today, which on paper is pretty respectable for where we are in the programme. I was trying my best to get closer to the podium. At one stage I was doing it but I was riding on the limit from the front also. So I just managed the race and fourth position was acceptable for today.
“Toprak was just coming to me naturally and I was just closing him, closing him but then I started to struggle in front traction, and then the rear obviously, because it is a ten-lap race tyre and I did 25. So naturally I was going to cross the marker somewhere.
“I was just struggling in a couple of corners and I just felt like I could not do any more. I was trying but then I folded the front a couple of times in turn two, a couple of times in the last corner, and the Corkscrew, and I just thought that is the limit of where we are at today.”
Sykes was happy to see that he was not the only one relatively limping home in race one in the US.
“I thought I was in a bit of crisis, but the gap to the guys behind was getting bigger and bigger, so obviously we were not in too much crisis. The start was good and the bike does a few things that are quite special and ahead of our competition but there is still work to be done over race distance. We will keep working and that will come in due course.”