Exclusive: Tom Sykes admits he's "a very lucky man" after horror crash
World Superbikes star Tom Sykes has admitted that he was very lucky to escape serious injury in an extraordinary crash on Saturday morning.
The Kawasaki rider suffered a broken finger and burns on his forearm in a high-speed crash in practice in Portugal, while the medication he took has forced him to miss the rest of the weekend’s action.
But Sykes, 32, says he’d have opted out of such strong medicine if he’d have known the consequences, despite admitting that he was fortunate not to pick up more severe injuries in the crash.
“The painkillers are probably the worst thing actually, they’re making me feel a little bit light on my feet,” Sykes told Eurosport. “Honestly speaking I would have liked to have tried this afternoon.
" The Portuguese staff did a good job. They got the finger back in place which – phew – that livened me up this morning I’ll be honest with you. But once they got that in place I just wish we could have done a localised injection and tried to ride because, other than that, I’m feeling good."
“Obviously now, because of the medication they used, I’m not allowed to ride. So obviously I’m really disappointed with that, but I’ll move things forward tomorrow and go and have an operation."
The crash delayed proceedings on Saturday and Sykes, who was still clearly feeling the effects of the morphine he’d been administered with, explained exactly how he’d managed to lose control in such an eye-catching way.
“Basically, I went out and the bike was feeling good and I came out of turn 8 and unfortunately as I started accelerating, still on banking, the front wheel came off the floor and as it touched again – obviously the rear was going a lot faster than the front – the tyre just took a moment to come up to speed.
“In that moment it set off the rear, which got out of shape a little bit. But then when I hit the lockstop on the steering that completely kicked the rear out.
" I thought ‘hang on a minute’. I tried to bail to the left but couldn’t get off the bike, and that’s when it got the better of me and put me out the front door. Looking at the crash and being a realistic kind of guy I’m a lucky man."
“Unlucky that it got to where it did on something so small, as the bike felt great and even on my out-lap I equalled my best lap and I definitely feel we could have been a lot stronger in that session and looked a lot better for the race. But unfortunately sometimes these things happen in racing and you’ve just got to deal with and be grateful that it wasn’t more serious.
“Those [injections] definitely took the edge off me, I was very drowsy. In a way it’s a shame.
" I wish I’d have known the ins and outs, said ‘forget those, put finger back in place and we’ll go racing’. But anyway, we’ll try again next time hopefully."
Sykes' absence from the weekend all-but ends his hopes of catching Jonathan Rea in the race for the world title.