From now until the end of the WorldSBK year Tom Sykes will be racing as hard as ever for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team, but he will be out of it in 2022, no matter what.
He found out at Navarra, in less than ideal circumstances as far as he was concerned. He may stay in the Bonovo BMW Team, alongside Jonas Folger, but he may also move elsewhere - if there’s a deal for him.
He went well on Friday at Magny Cours, in dry conditions for the first time, and then he was a front row qualifier again. In race one, it was not as fine an outcome, finishing ninth, with similar again on Sunday, but Sykes is looking for the same thing as ever, a consistent bike that enters corners well.
“Obviously we’ve been working hard to try and find a consistent bike,” said Sykes after FP1 and 2 on Friday in France. “Consistent being obviously first things first, try and be inside that top-five, top-six, like we were in Navarra. Session one was not really valuable today, FP1. FP2 the idea was to look at the different options of Pirelli tyre and slight difference in setup, but unfortunately FP2 got a little bit messy with a little bit of an issue with the bike. Luckily I was able to get back to the garage and the boys did a great job of getting me back out there. So, we definitely missed some of our schedule today. Considering that, I was quite pleasantly surprised to still be inside the top six. There’s certainly some areas on the track where we’re struggling with the bike. Unfortunately, it’s areas where it should be really free time. So, just having to really take some liberties in other areas which is potentially not really ideal.”
Both Sykes and Michael van der Mark had technical issues before the races, the same ones. Sykes was not saying which ones. “You know me,” he joked. “I’m not a very technical man, so better you ask (them).
Given the nature of Sykes exit from the BMW Motorrad team, with Scott Redding coming over to replace him, has the atmosphere in the BMW camp cooled of late?
“Depends, doesn’t it?” said Tom. “I think when it was announced in Navarra there was maybe a few people inside the team caught by surprise with the information on social media, but everybody knows the situation. It’s getting a bit of a boring topic now, so we’ll move on. But, I think the atmosphere was potentially better before the announcement…”
Sykes could yet stay in BMW, if he joins the Bonovo team. “Yeah, we’ll see. I’ve put a lot of work into it and it would be nice,” said Sykes about staying on the BMW. “Obviously, the normal plan is always once you’ve done that work is to try and enjoy the results together, but for whatever reason that’s not the case here. We’ll see what the future brings.”
Is there a deadline decided for the future of this deal?
“Normally before deadlines is communication, but we’ll see what we get in the future,” said Sykes.
Just how bruised was Sykes’ ego after news of his exit, “No, that is what it is. I didn’t lose any sleep about this. For me in racing, I still believe despite all of the intelligent people, I always still am quite surprised how people forget where you’ve come from and how you’ve got there.
“It’s a hard game out there. A good man once said to me, it’s not how you get in the shit that counts. It’s how you get out. So, we’ll see. We’ll keep working.”