CRUNCH TIME FOR SYKES

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

As the World Su­per­bike tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions have been dumbed down, Sykes’ se­cret weapons have slowly been blunted. Over the past two years, rule changes have seen the level of en­gine tun­ing drop in an ef­fort to re­duce costs and level the field and this year that goes even fur­ther with the ban­ning of split throt­tle bod­ies. Tech­nol­ogy his team tai­lored to suit his ag­gres­sive style.

“The more the en­gine is de­signed for rac­ing the faster I am, be­cause my style is all about ex­treme stop­ping and ex­treme ac­cel­er­a­tion,” Sykes ex­plained.

But the tech­ni­cal land­scape has now changed, and this has led Sykes to con­sider a change of rid­ing style as he looks to re­turn to win­ning ways in 2017.

“Af­ter a sea­son of strug­gling in 2015 we thought maybe it was a one-off year,” he said. “Last sea­son made it clear. We were al­ways work­ing hard but mid-way through 2016 we sort of thought wow! It’s some­thing I kind of re­alised and I wasn’t will­ing to ac- cept it, but I knew I had to change my rid­ing style.”

The new men­tal­ity has seen Sykes fo­cus on al­ter­ing his rid­ing style to suit the new tech­ni­cal re­al­ity. “I have not been chas­ing lap times in test­ing, I have been try­ing to un­der­stand things about the life and dura­bil­ity of the tyres,” he ex­plained. MCN says: He may have strug­gled last year with his in­com­pat­i­ble style but he still won five races. If Sykes can change his style enough to give him work­able grip over race dis­tance, he could be a real ti­tle trou­ble for Rea. But as it stands, that’s still an ‘if’; and a big one.

‘My style is all about ex­treme stop­ping and ac­cel­er­a­tion’

TOM SYKES

Sykes has used test­ing to change his rid­ing style

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