‘Surprised, disappointed’ Tom Sykes on BMW axe - “I grew up respecting people…”

Tom Sykes reacts with 'surprise' and disappointment at the revelation he will be replaced by Scott Redding at BMW for the 2021 WorldSBK season 

Tom Sykes - BMW Motorrad WorldSBK, 2021

Tom Sykes has given his first reaction to the news he won’t race with the factory BMW Motorrad for the 2022 WorldSBK Championship, saying he only discovered the news shortly before it was announced.

Ahead of this weekend’s Navarra WorldSBK round it was confirmed BMW had signed Scott Redding from Ducati for next season, where he would partner the already contracted Michael van der Mark in a revised rider line-up.

His appointment means Sykes - who joined BMW from Kawasaki in 2019 - has been frozen out, despite yielding five podiums and two pole positions during his time there and being classified ahead of van der Mark in the current standings.

At the heart of Sykes’ frustration is the lack of communication, which he suggests showed a surprising lack of respect and communication from BMW.

"I only heard of this decision very late and am disappointed," Sykes told Speedweek. "I did not expect that and was surprised because of the lack of communication. I grew up respecting people, regardless of their path in life. 

“What I hear in the paddock, things started a long time ago, which brings us back to respect. I would have liked to have spoken to Dr. Schramm, whom I have a lot of respect for and whom I really appreciate.”

“Michael [van der Mark] was signed because he was in the top 3 on a Yamaha. Some people might have expected that he would be able to transfer this effort to BMW, unfortunately that is not the case. 

“What frustrates and disappoints me is the fact that this project needs more development, the momentum has to be taken with it. When you move me into a new environment, you break the very strong connection I have with my crew. 

“Such a project needs stability, which is disturbed by it. You can also look at it differently: Scott could have gone to the other team."

What are Tom Sykes' 2022 WorldSBK options?

Despite losing his factory ride, Sykes is well liked at BMW, not least because he has been the primary driving force behind development of the S 1000 RR and now the M 1000 RR.

As such, it is likely to offer him a seat on a satellite M 1000 RRs, possibly as part of an expanded Bonovo MGM line-up alongside Jonas Folger. With BMW at pains to insist the ‘satellite’ bikes are factory machinery, despite a lack of testing and parts, Sykes admits it would be a tempting option.

"Of course I'm very interested, I've put a lot of work into this project and there is still a lot to do.

“I know that Jonas has the same material as me and Michael, that's very fair from BMW. If I could continue to have identical material, that would of course be interesting. Should I get such an offer, I will consider it."