Paul Bird Motorsport has announced 2013 WorldSBK Champion Tom Sykes will return to the British Superbike Championship (BSB) this season alongside Josh Brookes.
Confirming long-held rumours that Sykes - statistically one of the WorldSBK Championship’s most successful racers - would return to the series, the Briton will reacquaint himself with the BSB some 14 years after he last raced there.
Making a name for himself on the Rizla Suzuki in 2008, Sykes stepped up to WorldSBK in 2009 with Yamaha before a switch to the factory Kawasaki squad in 2010 began a hugely successful partnership that yielded 34 wins, including the 2013 WorldSBK title.
Sykes previously competed with PBM in WorldSBK when it ran the factory Kawasaki effort, landing his first WorldSBK win in 2011, though his title came under the Spanish Provec Racing outfit.
“I am very excited and motivated for this great opportunity to race in BSB with PBM. In terms of a domestic championship, it certainly doesn’t get any better - the level of competition is obviously high and there is some great talent.
“To be back with PBM is fantastic, it is a team I have been a part of before, both in BSB and in WSBK and one that has all of the pedigree for the task ahead.
Having been frozen out of the BMW WorldSBK line-up when he was replaced by Scott Redding, Sykes says he is delighted to be competing in front of British fans once more on competitive Ducati Panigale V4 R machinery.
“I will also be riding a Ducati for the first time in my career after riding for five other manufacturers in the Superbike category. This alone adds more excitement and motivation to the pot!
“It will also be interesting to explore the different characteristics of the bike in BSB with the different technical regulations. Finally, to be part of PBM and Ducati in BSB, racing in front of the home crowd makes me really happy.”
Alongside him will be Brookes, who remains on board for a fourth season and will look to challenge for his third BSB title.
“Firstly I would like to thank Paul for giving me the opportunity to ride for the team again. I enjoy racing the Ducati and I am now really eager for the off season to end so that we can get back testing and focus on the opening round of the championship!
“I also want to thank all of the team sponsors, as together we can take on this fight again for the championship.”
Sykes is the second high-profile returnee to BSB this season together with Leon Haslam, who joins Lee Hardy Kawasaki.