Regular team rider Tom Sykes and high-class stand-in Akira Yanagawa will compete for the Kawasaki Racing Team at the British round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship this coming weekend, a home event for most of the team.
The venue is Silverstone, back on the World SBK Championship trail for the first time since 2007. It enjoys a very different layout now, with an extensive infield section making it almost 6km long, with only a few areas of track left over from that last used for WSBK racing.
This new version of a classic track is certain to be one of the faster circuits on the calendar, and the mighty Ninja ZX-10R motorcycle may well get to stretch its legs to full speed for the first time since Monza in May, when Sykes had a season best result of fifth, in race two.
Silverstone, in the Midlands, is the only British round of the 2010 season, making this event extra-special for many in the team, which is based in Northern England.
This coming weekend marks the tenth round of the season, with three more to go after the long break in August. Battle recommences at the Nürburgring, on September 5. Right now Sykes in 16th in the overall rankings, only five points from the rider ahead.
Akira has not raced in World Superbike since the 2002 season, but in his long career in WSB he has taken three race wins, 23 podiums, two pole positions and six fastest laps. He was fourth overall in the 1997 Championship.
Team regular Chris Vermeulen is recuperating from the effects of reconstructive surgery on his right knee, and thus will not be riding in the last four rounds of the series.
Tom Sykes says: “I have been taking it steady since Brno so I am very keen to get back into race action. It will be an interesting weekend, a new circuit for everybody. I would like to put on a good show for my home crowd and see if we can get a strong result.”
“Very little of the track will be familiar to me, but I did ride the old full track on a standard 600 back in 2002. There have been a lot of changes at Silverstone and it looks good. With seven British riders involved this year it will be fantastic for the local fans and I hope there is a big crowd. It will be a busy round for me but I will be out to dig deep, as will the whole Kawasaki team.”
Akira Yanagawa says: “It has been a long time since I raced in World Superbike, not since Sugo in 2002, but it will be a pleasure to join this series once again and race at Silverstone. I have a long relationship with Kawasaki and the Ninja ZX-10R machine so I will be out to take the best results possible. I never raced at the old Silverstone but understand it will be fast!”