Tom Sykes primed for BSB return with Paul Bird’s VisionTrack Ducati team

Tom Sykes appears likely to make a return to the British Superbike Championship (BSB) for 2022 with VisionTrack Ducati after turning down BMW offer

Tom Sykes - BMW Motorrad WorldSBK, 2021

Tom Sykes looks on the verge of making a return to the British Superbike Championship (BSB) for the 2022 season as part of the Paul Bird Motorsport-run VisionTrack Ducati team.

The Yorkshireman has been left out of a ride for the 2022 WorldSBK Championship after being frozen out of BMW Motorrad’s factory line-up in favour of the incoming Scott Redding, who will partner Michael van der Mark next season.

Though BMW has expressed its keenness to retain Sykes - who joined from Kawasaki in 2019 - by offering a seat on the factory-supported Bonovo MGM satellite effort, it is understood he has turned it down in part because he was unhappy with the manner in which he was dropped from its line-up.

Indeed, Sykes took aim at BMW management in the wake of his axing, saying he was unhappy to only discover he had lost his ride shortly before it was publicly announced.

As such, the Briton - who is currently recovering from a concussion sustained in an accident during the Barcelona round of WorldSBK - is expected to return to the domestic series he vacated back in 2008 en route to the international series he’d win in 2013.

It would also mark a return to PBM for Sykes, who competed with the team for two seasons (2010 and 2011) when it was the steer behind Kawasaki’s factory WorldSBK involvement. While there Sykes scored his maiden WorldSBK win - and first for Kawasaki’s in five years - at the Nurburgring, ironically on the weekend PBM announced he was being dropped from its line-up for 2012.

As it happens, PBM instead exited WorldSBK, with Sykes staying on board as Provec Racing took on the factory effort instead from 2012, preluding his spectacular run to the 2013 WorldSBK Championship title.

Who would Tom Sykes replace in the VisionTrack Ducati BSB team?

It’s unclear who Sykes is destined to replace, but he would fulfil the high-profile brief over Josh Brookes.

The Australian won the title in his second season with PBM in 2020 but has endured a challenging defence campaign, even if an upturn in form that spurred him onto the Title Showdown. Still without a win, he has also been out-paced by team-mate Christian Iddon.

Sykes isn’t the only esteemed rider being linked with a return to BSB, with 2018 champion Leon Haslam also expected to be back on the domestic scene next season.