Motorcycle Racing News Sykes Talks ZX-10R, 2012 World Superbike

Sykes Talks ZX-10R, 2012 World Superbike

2012 World Superbike Prep

After winning Race 2 at Nurburgring in September, the British rider Tom Sykes delivered Kawasaki its first World Superbike win since 2006.

Following the victory, Sykes renewed his contract with Kawasaki for the 2012 World Superbike Championship; now his hoping to again bring the ZX-10R into the winner’s circle.

Sykes has proven the worthiness of the green mcahine in 2011 WSBK, and this continued through some testing. At a recent test of the newest ZX-10R at Valencia, Sykes consistently lapped at a record pace.

Following is an interview conducted by WorldSBK.com; in it, Sykes discusses the 2011 and the upcoming 2012 World Superbike championships.

Q. What did you make of your 2011 season?

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike) says: "In a nutshell I did not achieve what I set out to achieve, for a number of reasons. The performance was less than I had hoped for but that said I was probably not expecting to win a race in the first year of the latest Ninja ZX-10R. But, if you had asked me the previous year in winter testing my outlook would have been to win at least one in 2011.

"But when the season started things were a little bit difficult to arrive at the front. So to win one after all was fantastic. It was the consistency side that was more frustrating, to not be able to finish every weekend inside the top six. I have no problem doing consistent laps over race distance given the right package.

"I do not want to be labelled as somebody who is just good for one lap because I am 100% sure that is not the case. Already this winter during testing my corner speed is a lot higher than it was through the season, and consistency over race distance has come back, so we are already correcting some things."

Q. When will get the chance to ride your racebike next?

Tom Sykes says: "We go to Almeria in Spain shortly after the testing ban is lifted and then I think we will go straight to Australia. We had good constructive tests in Spain just before the ban and we worked through all the things we needed to, so hopefully we do not have to do too much work before Australia.

"Almeria may be good for us, we may finalise one or two things, but it is mainly to turn the wheels and start focusing, so it’s pretty much a warm-up. We will head to Australia with a clean slate."

Q. Are you approaching this year differently from before, now you have won a race, had a pole position on the new bike, seem to have better material, a better bike set-up, and more direct control from the factory?

Tom Sykes says: "I am very confident, I think 95% of racers are; we all believe we can win. But that aside, I am on the same bike, I know the bike, and given the people around me and my experience, plus my recent form in testing, we are more than just confident at the moment. I went into the winter break very happy, more so because the two tests we had were relaxed and very constructive."

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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