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May 19th, 2016, 06:04 AM   #1
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Shaina interviews Tom Sykes

Shaina Salvia A.S.:
Congratulations for the race win today. I was also happy you won!

Tom Sykes:
Fantastic. That's an extra bonus! I'm really happy because my crew chief, my electronics engineer and all the mechanics have worked as hard as me for this. So it's always nice to give them something extra to say 'thank you'. Today I feel we did that. To win here at Sepang, in front of some fantastic fans was really nice.

Now we need to try and improve the setting a bit more for race two. Everybody now has the information from a full race distance and we understand the feeling of the bike. For sure there are some areas where we suffered today, so tomorrow we'll have a slightly different Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Shaina:
So, you race with the number 66, why did you choose that number?

Tom Sykes:
No real reason; when I was younger I started with different numbers. But finally I raced with 66 because my team-mate Shane Byrne was riding with 67. In the end I stuck with that number. For me it looks very nice, symmetrical and now it's part of Tom Sykes.

Shaina:
What do you feel when you have to beat your own team-mate?

Tom Sykes:
[Laughs]. This is something which for me is not so critical, but you know they always say 'in racing the first rule is to beat your team-mate'. Some people feel more strongly about this, but to be honest I'm a little bit more relaxed and my target is to win the races. And I see no extra reason to try harder to beat my team-mate. But yeah, looks like for sure Jonathan is fast and we need to try and fight him for the world championship.

Shaina:
And you are also friends with the other riders?

Tom Sykes:
Correct. I mean there are lots of British riders now in this championship, very fast ones, but the good thing is that we are able to remain friends off the race track. This is always nice, but for sure in the last rounds if we are fighting for the championship maybe things will be different.

Shaina:
You are very loyal to Kawasaki and won the world championship in 2013. What year is your best Kawasaki bike and why?

Tom Sykes:
I think the time when I was the fastest is 2013 - actually maybe even 2014 was the fastest year for me and the Kawasaki, for sheer speed and consistency. Unfortunately we had some bad luck in 2014. I think the balance of the bike now is very good. But I think if we could introduce the engine package from 2014 we would be stronger than we are now.

Shaina:
After your second year at Kawasaki you became very fast, winning races in 2012. What kind of things can make you become fast?

Tom Sykes:
Well that year I started to work with the team I have now. We started with a very good winter test schedule. I give my comments to Marcel [crew chief], and Marcel has a very high level of technical knowledge and works very closely with the Kawasaki staff.

Marcel and I have a great relationship. This is our fifth year together so we're like brothers. Also the team and Kawasaki - this is my seventh year with Kawasaki and we have a great history already. Sure, unfortunately, we missed two championships by 6.5 points in total, but it proves our level when working together is very high. I'm very grateful for that.

Shaina:
Next question is, what are your hobbies beside riding motorbikes?

Tom Sykes:
My main hobby is karting. I really enjoy karting. And then relaxing with my family and drinking coffee!

Shaina:
How do you manage you time with your family and friends when you are travelling around the world?

Tom Sykes:
Yes, it's very difficult. I try to spend as much time as possible at home, because I have a fantastic wife and two unbelievable little girls. So for me it's a great pleasure to be at home and spend time with them. But at the same time when I'm travelling, I'm also very lucky. My job is also like a hobby. I'm very lucky to have this opportunity and work with the people I have around me.

Shaina:
So, how old are your children?

Tom Sykes:
One is two-years-old and the other is just coming up to one. So they are very close together in age. Double trouble!

Shaina:
How long do you think a rider can compete in Superbike or MotoGP?

Tom Sykes:
I don't know. For me I think the limit is normally 40-41 years old. For example Valentino Rossi is 37 and he is riding fantastically. I'm now 30 years old and I feel from a technical point of view, and riding ability, I'm as good - if not the best I've been in my career. From a fitness point, everybody works hard. So for me I would love, and believe it is possible I could have ten more years at the top level.

Shaina:
And the last question is, everybody wants to know about next year. Have you already decided where you will ride?

Tom Sykes:
No, no. Not yet. Of course this is a touchy topic! It's very clear that Jonathan has extended his contract with Kawasaki for two years, but still it's quite early. I'm talking with Kawasaki of course, because like I said we have a great history and our respect for each other is so high. This is very difficult to find sometimes in racing and we'll see. But the plan is always to continue. We have no reason to change. But in this moment we'll keep fighting hopefully for race wins and the rest will become more clear.

Shaina:
Okay! Thank you very much for the time. I'm really happy I could interview you.

Tom Sykes:
Likewise! It was a pleasure. Thank you.

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