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Sykes: WSBK rules "screw us to the ground"

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Sykes: WSBK rules "screw us to the ground"
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May 28, 2018, 1:25 PM

Tom Sykes says the new rules in World Superbike are 'screwing Kawasaki to the ground', and says the "real picture" of the pecking order is just "smoke and mirrors".

Restrictions on rev limits and engine development based on a concession system have been brought in for 2018 in a bid to make the WSBK field, long dominated by Kawasaki, more competitive.

Rev limits can be changed after every three rounds based on numerous performance factors, though limits have stayed the same since round one, and Kawasaki has even received a concession upgrade.

While Rea is leading the championship by 64 points, Sykes is only fourth in the standings behind Ducati's Chaz Davies and Yamaha's Michael van der Mark.

Sykes feels the current rules are only designed to make teams "suffer", and says the results of races are being tailored for the benefit of television.

"All they're doing with the rules, is if somebody is doing their jobs properly, like Kawasaki, they're just basically making them suffer," he said.

"It's not showing, on the television and on the timing, it's not showing the real picture or the true picture – it's all just smoke and mirrors at the moment.

"If Kawasaki are doing a good job, they'll just screw us to the ground, and vice versa, if someone else was doing a good job they'd screw them to the ground.

"So all they're doing is controlling the outcome for the television."

"A lot more to offer" on a different bike

Having endured a low-key start to the season, Sykes has previously admitted that he is struggling to adapt to the 2018 Kawasaki's riding style.

Amid rumours of his departure from Kawasaki, Sykes said he has "a lot more to offer" on a bike that is better suited to him. 

“I know that I've got a good relationship here at Kawasaki, but the bike is not suiting my riding style and I know I've got a lot more to offer personally," said Sykes, who has been linked with a move to Yamaha, which won both races at Donington Park.

“We'll just see how the future goes, but for now we can't really be focusing too much on that.

“I don't feel like we've got the package underneath me at this moment to show my full potential.

“We can still collect these Superpoles and make fast laps, which is the main thing, but I'm just not able to get the best from the bike, and that's just very, very frustrating at this moment.

The 2013 champion was third and a distant sixth in the two Donington Park races last time around, and said he "almost felt like a rookie" in the latter, having struggled with the bike.

"Riding around, I was just so disappointed, frustrated, I just felt almost like a rookie again.

"I couldn't get the bike into the corner like I wanted, or through, or even out of the exit.

"To say I'm pissed off is an understatement, and I even said to Marcel [Duinker, crew chief] I'm angry, I don't understand why the bike is not doing what I want it to do, especially here in Donington Park."

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About this article

Series World Superbike
Drivers Tom Sykes
Teams Kawasaki Racing
Author Lewis Duncan