HUDDERSFIELD’S Tom Sykes has been left fearing for his long-term World Superbike future after a rollercoaster week of rumbling and rumours finally came to a head at Magny Cours.
The 24-year-old was rocked on the eve of Round 13 in France with the news that his Yahama WSB team has announced an all-new line up for the 2010 season.
Current teammate Ben Spies has made a direct swap with James Toseland, making the step up to the MotoGP paddock, while current World Supersport rider Cal Crutchlow has been drafted in to replace Sykes.
The Yorkshireman marked the news by failing to record a finish in either race as Spies and Noriyuki Haga took race honours at Magny Cours.
Sykes has since been linked with Paul Bird’s Kawasaki WSB team for 2010 but he refused to be drawn on his future with one round left at Portimao in three weeks time.
“Next year is definitely something I need to think about,” said Sykes – who sits eighth with 176 points in the championship standings.
“I don’t know what is going to happen really yet but it is definitely something I have in the back of my mind.
“There is less than a month left now and as soon as the season finishes we have got a test straight away, so I need to be thinking and looking at things.
“But I have no idea what is going to happen because there are going to be quite drastic changes in the MotoGP and I don’t know where the World Superbikes will fit.
“A lot of people are looking for jobs at this time of year as we have seen – I’ll just have to wait and see what develops.”
Sykes has come in for criticism in the World Superbike paddock this year after failing to repeat his 2008 wildcard heroics which saw him climb the podium at Donington Park in August.
The soon-to-be unemployed Yamaha WBS rider heads to the season finale at Portimao having tested there during pre-season and has vowed to go out with a bang in Portugal.
“I definitely think there’s a bit more to come from myself and from the bike as well,” said Sykes.
“We made some improvements in qualifying at Magny Cours; we were just struggling in a couple of corners.
“And I think if we can sort that problem out that will make a big difference.”
British Eurosport 2 has live coverage from every round of the 2009 Superbike World Championship. See the action on Sky channel 411 or Virgin Media channel 525. Next race Portimao, Portugal on Sunday, October 25, and for SBK updates visit uk.eurosport.yahoo.com