HUDDERSFIELD’S Tom Sykes paid tribute to his Yamaha WSB team after pulling out of the final races for them in his maiden World Superbike season at Portimao.

Sykes travelled to Portugal confident that he would be fit enough to ride despite suffering a broken thumb and shoulder damage in the previous round in France.

The 24-year-old took to the track in free practice and qualifying where he finished 21st but was visibly struggling.

Sykes – who will join the Kawasaki WSB outfit next year after his contract wasn’t renewed with Yamaha – followed doctor’s orders and didn’t ride.

“I tried a number of things to get myself comfortable,” said Sykes. “I think I needed more time to recover from the injury and I am just sorry for my team because to end the season the way I have isn’t ideal. Things change now but I am very grateful to Yamaha for giving me this opportunity – they probably thought it would be a lot better and likewise I thought it would be a lot better.

“But I think I was treated fairly by the team regarding next season – it was difficult because I know I could have done better in the championship but, at the end of the day, they had a decision to make.”

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