Tom Sykes to Puccetti Kawasaki, 2023 WorldSBK provisional calendar announced

Tom Sykes will return to Kawasaki and WorldSBK for the 2023 season, the provisional calendar for which has also been published.

Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, Donington Park [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

Tom Sykes has announced that he will be returning to WorldSBK in 2023, and the provisional calendar for next season has also been announced. 

Tom Sykes joins Puccetti Kawasaki

2013 WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes will return to the championship in 2023, 10 years after his title success, after one year away from the championship. 

Sykes made his return to British Superbikes for 2022 after being replaced by Scott Redding at the factory BMW WSBK team at the end of 2021. However, Sykes’ BSB campaign with the PBM MCE Ducati team did not go to plan, despite two wins at Donington, and the #66 did not make the Showdown. 

Back in the early-mid-2010s when Sykes was at the peak of his powers, he raced with Kawasaki. He won the title with them in 2013, and finished as runner up in 2012, when he lost out to Aprilia’s Max Biaggi by 0.5 points, and 2014, when Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli took the title in a controversial final race in Qatar.

Sykes left Kawasaki at the end of the 2018 season after a rift had formed between his side of the garage and that of Jonathan Rea, who by the end of that year had won the world title every year since he joined Sykes at Kawasaki in 2015. 

Now, though, Sykes will return to Kawasaki and WorldSBK, albeit in the satellite Puccetti team, and not the factory squad, where Rea is now paired with Alex Lowes. 

Tom Sykes said: “I’m really happy to be joining Kawasaki Puccetti Racing and returning to the WorldSBK paddock. For years, I’ve been impressed by the way in which Manuel Puccetti manages his team and by the mentality with which he goes racing, as well as the team’s infrastructure of course. 

“All aspects that mean I’m highly motivated ahead of the 2023 racing season. I also have another opportunity, in that I’ll be part of the Kawasaki family once more, building on a relationship that has always been very solid. I can’t wait to get started on this project and get to know the whole team.”

2023 WorldSBK provisional calendar revealed

As well as the news of Sykes’ return, WorldSBK has announced the provisional 2023 calendar on 8 November 2022. 

The 2023 WorldSBK season will get underway at Phillip Island on 24-26 February, before the paddock heads to Indonesia on 3-5 March. Incidentally, that means the 2023 championship will open with races at the two race tracks which close 2022, but in the reverse order. This means that Phillip Island will host consecutive WorldSBK rounds for the first time in its history. 

After Indonesia, WorldSBK will return to Europe, but after a six-week break. Assen will be the first European stop on the 2023 calendar on 21-23 April, before Barcelona on 5-7 May, Misano on 2-4 June, Donington on 30 June - 2 July, and Most on 28-30 July before a five-week summer break. 

The action will resume in Magny-Cours on 8-10 September, before Aragon on 22-24 September, and Portimao on 29 September - 1 October, which will be the final European round before the series heads to South America and the San Juan circuit in Argentina. 

The 12th and final round of the championship is currently unconfirmed, but with WorldSSP300 confirmed to be in attendance at that final round it would be safe to assume it will be in Europe. Rumours have suggested that Imola could make a return to the calendar, but only time will tell whether those will materialise.

Other options could include Jerez, or even Valencia since MotoGP will not be heading to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo until the end of November in 2023.  

Before the racing season kicks off in Phillip Island, there will be a single two-day official preseason test at the Australian venue on 20-21 February. 

WorldSBK still has two rounds left in its 2022 season. This weekend, it heads to Indonesia, where Alvaro Bautista has the first real shot at clinching his first WorldSBK crown, before the finale in Phillip Island.

2023 Superbike World Championship provisional calendar

24-26 FebruaryAustraliaPhillip Island Grand Prix CircuitXX 
3-5 MarchIndonesiaPertamina Mandalika International Street CircuitXX 
21-23 AprilThe NetherlandsTT Circuit AssenXXX
5-7 MaySpainCircuit de Barcelona - CatalunyaXXX
2-4 JuneItalyMisano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”XXX
30 June - 2 JulyUnited KingdomDonington ParkXX 
28-30 JulyCzech RepublicAutodrom MostXXX
8-10 SeptemberFranceCircuit de Nevers Magny-CoursXXX
22-24 SeptemberSpainMotorLand AragonXXX
29 Sept. - 1 Oct.PortugalAutodromo Internacional do AlgarveXXX
13-15 OctoberArgentinaCircuito San Juan VillicumXX 

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