Tom Sykes (BMW WorldSBK Team) photographed by us in an interview in 2019 – the man from Huddersfield is an often asked guest at the microphone, and he has hardly ever disappointed.

The BMW star and his expectations for the new season

The team, which asked many questions during their preparations for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship 2021, is now apparently on the verge of the first real test. Right from the start, Tom Sykes was part of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, a rider who is considered to be one of the best development riders in the near-series World Cup. In the first year, Markus Reiterberger took over at his side and in 2020 with Eugene Laverty one of the most experienced pilots in the paddock. The Northern Irishman will be on the road for a BMW private team next season, as will WSBK newcomer Jonas Folger. Instead of Laverty, Michael van der Mark will now share the box. In an interview, Tom Sykes gave an insight into his thoughts on the upcoming season and his assessment of the competitiveness of the new BMW M-1000 RR.

Tom Sykes Photographed on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR by us in Brno in 2018 – after Scott Russell in the 1993 season, the Englishman won the second title for the Greens exactly 20 years later. He was exactly the right man for BMW’s return to the 2019 season.

What do you expect in terms of improvements from the new BMW M-1000RR, and what are the advantages over the previous model?
Tom Sykes: “Last season we were under powered, and we didn’t really have the tire situation under control. We were still limited, also in terms of the possibilities with the chassis. The most important point now is the increased power of the engine, which, together with chassis improvements, should bring us significantly forward. If we can now put everything together, we will definitely take a big step.

What are the chances of podium and victories with the M-1000RR, and what are your goals for 2021?
Sykes: “Yes, of course it will be difficult, but my vision is to make it happen. Basically, I’m happy to have a great manufacturer behind me in BMW. Now we have to push ahead with the development of what should put us in the position of really being at the forefront. Getting the podium and victories is the ultimate goal. But first we have to see what happens on the track, this is planned for next week in Jerez. Hopefully, the upgrades should put us in the position to take the necessary step for that.”

Our picture of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki, left) as the winner of the rain race in Misano and his former team-mate Tom Sykes (BMW) with 2nd place and the best result for the blue-whites so far. It was the first podium for BMW since returning as a works team. In the first Corona year there was a step backwards, but now the brand new M-1000RR is embarking on a new adventure.

What is the greatest strength of BMW?
Tom: “The engine characteristic is one of the advantages, which is why the bike is also very fun to ride. The handling of the BMW is another point that I consider to be one of the strengths.

What do you think of the new winglets of the M version that were not yet available on the S-1000RR?
Sykes: “There was a lot of discussion about it. Many things have their advantages and disadvantages. With the winglets, I was positively surprised in some parts of the track during the first tests. At the end of the day, the important thing is the overall package and more power. We expect a lot from the modified engine.

WorldSBK 2011 season with Tom Sykes in front of Kawasaki team-mate Joan Lasccorz and Ayrton Badovini (BMW). It was the Englishman’s second of 9 years for the Greens and a year later he fought for the title for the first time. For more about these years see our richly illustrated history (© WorldSBK).

What are the goals for 2021, and what are the expectations for the coming season?
Tom: “The goal is to fight for the top 3. But of course everyone wants this, but it is still the most important goal. It’s always about winning as much as possible. Everyone is working very hard right now to make this happen.

How do you experience the Covid-19 situation, and how do you cope with all of this?
Sykes: “It’s a difficult time, but I have a good family around me. One should try to see the light at the end of the tunnel and stay positive. Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of people are struggling with this. Apart from that, I can say little about it. Always try to make the best of it.”

Tom Sykes photographed by us before the start in his first BMW season in BuriRam (Thailand) in March 2019. The Englishman has been an integral part of the WSBK for over 10 years. He’s an absolute original and apart from Valentino Rossi, MotoGP doesn’t have a guy even half as original as Sykes.

Current calendar version of WorldSBK for 2021

After two modifications, it is definitely not a final version that is currently considered current. In addition to the question marks for the 12th and 13th lap, the overseas races are particularly endangered. It is also not yet certain whether the events in Misano, Donington and Assen will actually take place. In principle, the entire calendar is still on shaky feet due to the corona pandemic.