Tom Sykes predicts BMW wins, eyeing 2020 WorldSBK top four overall

Tom Sykes says he will be targeting victories out of the box on the BMW S1000RR when the 2020 WorldSBK season gets back underway

Tom Sykes - BMW Motorrad WorldSBK

Tom Sykes says BMW Motorrad must target victories in the 2020 WorldSBK Championship this season and strive for a top four placing in the overall standings.

The 2013 champion is heading into his second season with the German manufacturer, which returned to the WorldSBK Championship in a full factory capacity in 2019 with the latest generation BMW S1000 RR.

After an encouraging campaign that yielded a pole position and four podiums en route to eighth overall, Sykes started the year with a dominant run to the top spot in qualifying at the Phillip Island opener and is aiming much higher for 2020.

Indeed, though Sykes struggled somewhat more on race day – picking up a best finish of sixth place – he believes the BMW is close to a breakthrough that will see him battling it out with Kawasaki, Ducati and Yamaha out front.

“I think when we put it qualifying tyres on in Phillip Island the bike was just on rails. I didn’t really run into any problems; it was quite a steady lap with a great outcome. 

“It certainly excites me more for the season because to me, to show speed like that, it’s a much easier task of forming that into race speed rather than doing it the other way round. I’m quietly confident that given a little bit more time we can be there.”

Sykes’ run to pole position by 0.3s came after a fairly low-key winter period in which the team focused solely on race set-up. He says it is this potential that gives him confidence the manufacturer will be celebrating its first wins in WorldSBK in seven years.

“Winter testing had gone very well. We stuck to a very strict programme and spent all the time on race tyres. I have to say race setup of the S1000 RR was very strong so in race format I feel like we have a higher potential.

“We certainly need to be looking at some race wins this year and be more consistently on the podium. It’s hard to say where we will be at the end of the year but, for example, as soon as we put the qualifying tyre on at Phillip Island it was such a great bike to ride. I’d certainly like to be looking for the top four this year but secretly I’m pushing quite a bit higher.”

The 2020 WorldSBK season is currently on pause as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with a provisional restart date for the start of August with a round to be held at Jerez.