World Superbikes champion Tom Sykes returns to the scene of his 2013 title clincher as Jerez stages round 10 of the 2014 series.
While there was no race win for Sykes in southern Spain back in October last year, his third place in race one secured his first championship victory.
And memories of winning the Superbike title on his Ninja ZX-10R in the final round of the 2013 season are still vivid for Sykes and all his team.
“The emotions involved in going back to Jerez are massive,” admitted the 29-year-old.
“I had never won a championship before last year and then I dived in at the deep and with the Superbike World Championship title!
“The fact it was even completed at Jerez, a home round for my Spanish team, made it even better.
“I have spent a lot of time there in winter testing as well, so it has a truly special feeling for me and there are so many magical memories from there.”
In the 2014 championship fight Kawasaki Racing Team rider Sykes is a clear and convincing leader, with eight wins to his credit and an advantage of 44 points over his closest challenger Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli.
After a long summer break the FIM Superbike World Championship gets underway once again, with just two more meetings after Jerez at Magny-Cours in France (October 5) and then the finale at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on November 2.
And with most of the backroom staff of the Kawasaki team ‘at home’ this weekend in Jerez, Sykes is determined to make the most of the first round of the championship to be held since the middle of July when he gained two podium finishes – a third in race one and a win in race two – at Laguna Seca in the United States.
These positive thoughts will add to Sykes’ high levels of motivation to succeed again on the track when the first practice sessions get underway at the 4.423km long Jerez circuit tomorrow.
“It is a really nice racetrack, really enjoyable and I cannot wait to get back there,” said Sykes.
“We have improved the bike a little bit during a test at Portimao, after America, so I am looking forward to putting those changes into practice in Jerez.
“The Spanish fans were great there last year, very enthusiastic, so I am really looking forward to going back there.”
World Superbike Championship stndings: 1 Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 325pts, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 281, 3 Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda) 261, 4 Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) 253, 5 Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 217, 6 Chas Davies (Ducati Racing) 159, 7 Davide. Giuliano (Ducati Racing) 153, 8 Toni Elias (Aprilia) 137, 9 Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Suzuki) 134, 10 Leon Haslam (Pata Honda) 133