2013 WSBK champion Sykes has been part of BMW’s current project since its inception in 2019 and has so far landed six of its seven series podiums, two of three this season.
However, with the Navarre round approaching last weekend in Spain, BMW has announced that it has hired Scott Redding to team up with Michael van der Mark in its factory team next year, after have been impressed by Redding’s performance with Ducati since making his WSBK debut in 2020.
BMW says it is “working hard to keep Sykes on board” for 2022 but won’t go so far as to expand to a third factory bike to accommodate it, offering it only an M1000RR satellite for next season.
Sykes, the 34-time WSBK race winner, told the official WSBK website that BMW should have given more thought to its contribution to the development of the S1000RR and the new M1000RR, especially when testing opportunities were limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked about the rumors linking him to other teams, including Honda, following BMW’s decision to sign Redding, the 36-year-old said: and be grateful for every given opportunity. But I’ll say I’m disappointed of course [by BMW’s decision] because it is not an easy job.
“We started from scratch and put all our efforts into it. And when you try to mix development and racing, especially during the COVID era, we haven’t had any testing and development there really, we still have a big gap to fill in these boys before.
“I really think the decision was very early and not communicated very well, but sometimes it’s a tough business and it’s part of the race and the game. So you have to understand and respect those decisions, whether you like it or no, and move on. “
Sykes is ranked seventh in the championship after the first seven rounds of the season, behind the factory bikes of Kawasaki, Ducati and Yamaha riders but two positions ahead of his teammate van der Mark – who joined BMW from Yamaha at the start of this season. year.
Sykes insists he did a decent job given the limitations of his bike, but believes BMW put too much emphasis on pure results when it called in its 2022 rider lineup.
When asked if seventh place was the best he could handle in the standings against factory opposition from Kawasaki, Ducati and Yamaha, Sykes replied, “I wish you could tell someone. ‘another!
“To put you more in the picture, if I could have gone for the fourth [in the standings] maybe it would have made my life a little easier. But about twenty points off the fourth (23) so it’s close to that, and there are quality riders and quality manufacturers out there.
“I didn’t think I was doing my job too badly considering that we are trying to drive these riders and manufacturers, and we are always trying to develop and we don’t have the luxury of wasting days of testing.
“So we always try to do it on race weekends and that makes my job and Michael’s more difficult.
“Unfortunately, I’ve found that it’s the results that count, so it was difficult in that regard. Now I feel like I understand better and I hope we can keep working on this and put on the best possible show for me and BMW.
Tom Sykes, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team, Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images