Sykes savours first WorldSBK podium with BMW

Tom Sykes celebrates his 109th career WorldSBK podium, but his first since joining BMW from Kawasaki in 2019 
Sykes savours first WorldSBK podium with BMW

Tom Sykes has joked it is a ‘slight understatement’ to say he is happy after securing his first World Superbike Championship podium since joining the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team at Misano.

The Briton put in a stellar performance on the BMW S1000RR throughout the Rimini weekend, keeping his nerve in treacherous conditions of race one to turn a front row start into a run to second position behind Jonathan Rea.

He looked set for a second straight podium in the Superpole Race but for a mechanical issue to halt him with only half a lap remaining, which in turn scuppered his hopes of fighting for the rostrum in race two from 11th on the grid.

Despite this, his sixth place result consolidated a strong weekend as a whole for both Sykes and the manufacturer, with race one’s second place signalling the first WorldSBK podium for a BMW branded machine since Marco Melandri achieved the feat in 2013.

“To say that I am very happy would be a slight understatement,” Sykes said when speaking after race one. :”I am very, very happy and it’s just credit to all the guys in the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We’ve been working really hard and finally we’ve got the result which I feel we deserve.

“We’ve been pushing forward and it’s absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed riding in the wet conditions. The BMW S 1000 RR gave me some great feedback today and what a better place to do that than here at Misano in front of some amazing fans.”

“It was a little bit unfortunate[the Superpole Race DNF]. “I honestly feel that we had three podiums in reach. We were third in the sprint race until the last lap and had a issue which allowed Leon Haslam to come close and then unfortunately we retired.

“That didn’t help the cause as this meant that I started the last big race from the fourth row which cost me some time in the first few laps. The whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team did a great job. I feel if we had started from the front row we could have gone away, kept our rhythm and I definitely feel that this would have allowed another podium position.

So a little bit of a shame but on the plus side we’ve had a podium, we finished second this weekend with the all-new BMW S 1000 RR, we are showing its potential. Even in this last race we had very good consistency. We will build on this.”

Though the result is Sykes’ 109th career WorldSBK podium, it is his first on anything other than a Kawasaki machine since 2008 when he rode the Rizla Suzuki to second place at Donington Park during a one-off wild-card.