After much back and forth, Kawasaki has finally announced that Tom Sykes will be joining Christopher Vermeulen on its factory World Superbike team, riding the 2010 Kawasaki ZX-10R. Sykes, who is currently Ben Spies’ partner at Sterilgarda Yamaha, will be making the switch to Team Green, where he will once again be playing second fiddle.
With consistent Top 8 finishes, Sykes has been overshadowed by his Texan teammate. For Sykes, the move to Kawasaki was a no-brainer, as few other factory doors were opening for the rider. The same can be said about Vermeulen, who was unable to find a spot to his liking in MotoGP, and decided to try production motorcycle racing.
Kawasaki seems to be the big winner in this group, having two very competent riders on-board for the 2010 season. After a lack-luster 2009 season, this may be the shot in the arm the factory team needs.
Kawasaki is expected to make further announcements about a title sponsor for the next two seasons. Hayate and Kawasaki Technical Director Ichiro Yoda is due to join the team to manage the technical side of the racing effort, and to also help develop the 2011 ZX-10R, which is slated for a model revamp, and rumors are already circulating that the motor will feature a big-bang firing order.