CRUNCH TIME FOR SYKES
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’
Sykes has used testing to change his riding style