Superbike crown is within Sykes’s grasp

Huddersfield’s Tom Sykes could be crowned World Superbike champion by the end of the weekend.

Great Britain's Tom Sykes, of Kawasaki Racing Team (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

The 28-year-old Kawasaki rider goes into the final two races in Jerez, Spain, with a healthy lead over his rivals.

He is 37 points clear of Eugene Laverty and a further point ahead of Sylvain Guintoli.

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With only 50 points up for grabs, a third place finish in either race would be enough to win the title, or he can achieve it with two ninth-place finishes.

After nine wins already this year, Sykes has shown great determination to bounce back after missing out on the world crown last year by half a point.

However, despite the permutations, the history and what the title will mean, Sykes was attempting to keep a lid on expectations in the build-up.

“I’m quite relaxed, even though it all boils down to the last round – again,” said Sykes, who is hoping to become the first Yorkshire-born World Superbikes champion since James Toseland won the second of his titles in 2007.

“Last year we were 30.5 points behind at this stage and now we are 37 points in front. We are in a much better position and that is the way I am looking at it.

“I hear people saying I need ‘x’ amount of points or I need to finish in this or that position in this race, and so on, but we just need go there and work on our own thing and see what happens after two races.

“I just want to go and enjoy the weekend like always. Hopefully, come Sunday afternoon if all things go well, then we can really enjoy the weekend.”

In an incredible year, Sykes has led for almost half of the laps completed this season.

His form in the second half of the season has been blistering.

Since taking the lead of the championship after race two at the Nurburgring on September 1, Sykes has finished no worse than fourth and has had three wins, including the double at Magny-Cours, France, last time out.

He has stood on the podium 16 times, earned eight Superpole wins and set 12 fastest laps.

Jerez is the home circuit of his Kawasaki team and would be a fitting place to win the title.

But Sykes quipped: “I’m not bothered if it’s the team’s home circuit or a Tesco car park. As long as I’m world champion, I won’t mind.

“Jerez is a very exciting circuit and one which we have tested at in the winter. We had a couple of tests there and luckily we have some good track information. Everything is in place for us to go there and start racing again.

“I am expecting some of our competition to be strong but we’ll be ready.”