The British rider secured three top-six finishes, including fifth in Race 2, at the Circuito de Navarra despite ‘struggling’ in a two-day test earlier in the year at the circuit
After the pre-round announcement that Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) would not be staying with the BMW factory outfit for the 2022 campaign, the British rider claimed three consecutive top-six finishes at the Circuito de Navarra on his BMW M 1000 RR machine and was the lead BMW rider across all three races and the Tissot Superpole session as he looks to secure a place on the grid for 2022 during the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first visit to Navarra.
Sykes put his BMW machine on the front row of the grid in Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session with a stunning lap time to qualify in third place, and in Race 1 was able to convert that into a top-six finish with sixth place, finishing one place ahead of teammate Michael van der Mark. In the Tissot Superpole Race, Sykes came home in sixth place again as he withstood the challenge from Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) while in Race 2 he was able to overhaul Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) to claim fifth.
Reacting to a weekend where there were plenty of reasons for Sykes to be ‘unsure’, Sykes said: “It’s been one of those weekends. Coming here a little bit unsure because… unsure of the circuit and then obviously I got hit with the news so that didn’t help! I was unsure of the circuit because we had a test here and we struggled, all three BMWs struggled in the test from where we needed to be if I remember correctly. And then obviously hot conditions, where we’ve struggled in the past, but to be honest I had a test in Catalunya just trying to understand more the bike. I think people forget it’s had a big engine upgrade and it’s not quite as easy as bolting it into the old chassis and going forward.”
“I think, for me, the front row was good because I wasn’t quite expecting that having seen the speed of the Kawasakis, Ducatis and Yamahas, there’s a lot of bikes there. The front row was great, actually, because as I got into the race, I realised how much of a one-line circuit it is. It was really quite a tricky one to pass, especially off-line it was still quite dusty. The racing has gone well, consistency’s been pretty nice, more so in the hot conditions than the cooler condition. Top six finishes, fifth in the last one, for me was good. I was pleased with our performance. Still, we have quite some limitations with the turning and the rear traction but I just tried my best to manage this with different brake pressures in certain areas, different ways to open the throttle than I normally would do and a lot of pressure from the boys for the whole race. Overall, to finish fifth is a good end to the weekend and hopefully we can keep building on this.”
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