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Tom Sykes and KRT to finish sporting relationship at end of 2018 season

News vom 18.07.2018

After nine successful years on Ninja

machinery and with the official factory Kawasaki Racing Team in

WorldSBK, Tom Sykes and the Kawasaki Racing Team have mutually agreed to

end their sporting relationship at the end of the 2018 season. 

Credited with changing the way Kawasaki

approached the rigours of superbike racing while playing a large role in

the development of the Ninja ZX-10R racing package, Tom will seek a new

challenge for 2019 having delivered maximum effort across a total of

nine years of racing and development on Kawasaki machinery in WorldSBK.

As

the 2018 season is far from over, Sykes is still pushing with KRT in a

bid to add to his landmark 2013 WorldSBK championship, the first title

for Kawasaki after 20 years following the 1993 success of Scott Russell.

Not simply a winner, Tom also achieved championship second place status

in 2012, 2014 and 2016 with the 2012 attempt being closest ever runner

up finish at just 0.5 points between himself and a second world

championship.

With the remainder of the 2018 season yet to be

completed the most successful Superpole winner in WorldSBK history still

has a chance to increase his amazing tally of qualifying and race

successes on KRT machinery. Fully motivated and with the full support of

the Kawasaki Racing Team and his pit crew, Tom remains a racing force

to be admired by fans and feared by rivals in equal measure.

Tom Sykes: “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. 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”.
 

Guim Roda - KRT Team Manager : “It

has been a busy few weeks recently and for sure we have talked many

hours internally. In the most recent rounds Tom’s concentration was not

able to be the best, as he was dealing with a big decision - apart from

some family points to solve - this has taken a lot of his concentration

over the past two years.
I hope this final confirmation will give us

room to finish the year in the same way we dominated in Assen. We have

big job to do until end of year, so is not time to say good bye yet. Of

course this is an announcement of intentions for 2019 but the more

important is to work hard to finish the year with the same determination

that we started with”.
  
Ichiro Yoda - KRT Senior Engineer:

“We understand Tom wishes and we agree it is time to take different

ways in WorldSBK. Myself and all KHI engineering group have big respect

for the job done since beginning of WorlSBK project 2010 and of course

for the one still have to do to end of year. His sensors to go fastest

lap, develop components and understand details of bike feedback to

improve the package have been very useful those years, we will be always

thankful for his efforts”.

Steve Guttridge - KME Racing Manager :

"We've got a lot of history and thousands of happy miles with Tom over

the years. His efforts both on the track, testing, developing plus

within the press and at public occasions with the fans has made a really

positive impact on Kawasaki. He is so popular because he always gives

100%. It is sad to lose such a great brand ambassador within KRT but I

understand it's time for him to face his new goals and motivations.

 Whichever direction he moves onwards, we want to help him create his

best possible future and that means of course starting again on pole in

Portimao as the season resumes!"
 
Editors notes:
Sykes Career Statistics to July 2018:
9 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)
WorldSBK career span 2008 as Wildcard > 2009 onwards full-time.

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