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WorldSBK Phillip Island: ‘Lots to think about’ for struggling Sykes

Tom Sykes

Tom Sykes endured a disappointing Friday with his Puccetti Kawasaki at Phillip Island as WorldSBK 2023 kicked off in Australia.

The returning Yorkshireman sat on the edge of the top 20 by the close of Friday practice after two 45-minute sessions at the demanding 4.4km layout, with progress on his Ninka ZX-10RR as similarly slow moving as his pre-season test earlier this week.

A best lap of 1’33.015, set in the cooler morning outing, left Sykes over two seconds adrift of reigning champion Alvaro Bautista after the Ducati man continued to up the ante despite the rising temperatures. While typically changeable island weather threatens the horizon as qualifying and the first race of the year looms, ‘Mr Superpole’ seems his usually laid back self ahead of Saturday’s action.


“Lots to think about and ultimately we need to carefully consider the situation and try to understand what we can do,” Sykes reflected from Australia on Friday. “There are areas where I’m struggling and so I’m trying to overcompensate through certain corners.

“It was also so hot here today which makes it very difficult to set strong lap times. But we’ve made some set-up changes and now the guys have a lot of information from the tests and from today that we can use to make a plan ahead of tomorrow, when we’ll focus on the race.

“If it rains? I wouldn’t mind actually…” he concluded.

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