Could WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes be heading stateside to MotoAmerica?

WorldSBK and MotoGP exiles Tom Sykes and Danilo Petrucci are being courted for MotoAmerica as Ducati seeks a big name rider for US-based series

Tom Sykes - BMW Motorrad WorldSBK

The 2022 WorldSBK Championship grid may be largely completed by now but there remain a few global Superbike seats courting some very interesting names… and not just in the British Superbike Championship.

Indeed, there will be a notable shift on the WorldSBK grid next season with three riders coming in from the GP stage and a few shake ups in the factory ranks, not to mention the odd graduate from the WorldSSP class.

However, this weekend’s WorldSBK finale in Indonesia at the Mandalika Circuit will also be something of a swansong for three British riders with Chaz Davies opting to retire, while Leon Haslam exits Honda and Tom Sykes leaves BMW.

Both Haslam and Sykes have been linked with a return to BSB in 2022, but it is understood the rider line-ups have been left hanging somewhat by Tarran Mackenzie’s planned move into WorldSBK being thwarted by Go Eleven deciding against Yamaha machinery and hiring Philipp Oettl instead.

It means Mackenzie could stay with McAMS Yamaha alongside Jason O’Halloran to defend his title. Rumour has it, Josh Brookes was eyeing up a return to Yamaha machinery with Sykes coming in to replace him at PBM VisionTrack Ducati, though Visordown understands he also had talks with McAMS Yamaha too.

With things in the air, however, it seems Sykes is considering a surprise switch to the United States to join Ducati’s factory-backed effort in the MotoAmerica series.

The seat had been held by Loris Baz, who was set to remain with the team in 2022 before a star wildcard turn on the Go Eleven Ducati prompted a bidding war for his services in WorldSBK which was eventually won by Bonovo BMW.

Sykes isn’t the only rider Ducati is targeting though, with a decision thought to hinge on whether outgoing MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci will stick with rally raiding.

The Italian has just announced he will enter the Dakar Rally in January for KTM. However, he is doing so a year earlier than originally planned to decide whether rally raid competition is for him - if not, he will pursue Superbikes instead.

"After the Dakar, I'll decide whether it makes sense to continue my rally career at KTM for at least two more years," he said over the Valencia MotoGP weekend. "I have to find out whether I like this scene and whether I can be competitive."