The feud between ex-Kawasaki team-mates Tom Sykes and Loris Baz is heating up, even with the season over and Baz leaving the team and the series. In fact, it’s not just heating up, it’s getting amusingly childish, with the two swapping nasty tweets, Sykes in particular seeming unable to keep his hands off the keys.
Sykes has been cool at best toward Baz ever since the young Frenchman torpedoed his senior team-mate on the first lap at the Sepang (Malaysia) round, half-way through the season. That cost Sykes dearly, with no points in the first race (his only DNF of the season) and a third in the second, nursing an injured wrist that continued to bother him as the season went on. Meantime, Guintoli managed a pair of seconds that re-ignited his season, which had stagnated a bit since his first-event win in Australia (after which, when asked how he felt, he famously replied, “Maybe tonight we start another baby!”).
The last two races set off the pair’s dislike again, as at the French round Baz was ordered to drop behind Sykes to maximize the Yorkshireman’s chances of a repeat title; he did so in one race but refused in the other. The same situation occurred in the last race in Qatar, and Baz simply ignored the pit board, saying, ““I didn’t think my mechanics deserved to finish third instead of second, they have been working hard for three years so it is for them … I saw the pit-board, but I am only nice with the people who are nice with me.”
Ironically, at that same French race Marco Melandri ceded the first victory to Guintoli in similar circumstances, but refused the same order in race 2, afterward remarking much like Baz that he’d won the race for his sponsors and mechanics.
If you’re interested in the actual tweets that have been exchanged so far, check out this piece at crash.net.
The arguing seems particularly silly since Baz is gone in 2015, taking a ride with the NGM Forward Yamaha team in Moto GP. He’ll be riding along German Stefan Bradl, the two replacing Aleix Espargaro (who’s moving to the new Suzuki factory team) and Colin Edwards (who’s retired) and Alex de Angelis (who replaced Edwards for the last few races of the 2014 season).
WSBK 2015 update
The two most open “secrets” in World Superbikes (as mentioned in our Qatar race report) have been officially outted, namely the team changes for Irishman Jonathon Rea and French rider and new world champion Sylvain Guintoli.
Rea will be leaving the Pata Honda team and moving to partner Tom Sykes at Kawasaki, replacing Loris Baz. Sykes will no doubt be delighted to see the back of his current team-mate, but Rea is a fast and experienced racer, so Sykes may have trouble holding his No. 1 spot on the team. Rea had no comment to make, saying he’s still under contract to Honda.
His seat on the Dutch team will be taken by Guintoli, who’s ridden for Pata before, albeit only for half a season in 2012 on Ducatis. Still, he provided the team with three victories then, and says, “The last time we worked together was a very unexpected but successful partnership. I brought Pata their first victories and we have a strong relationship. I’m looking forward to tackling this new challenge and I can’t wait to get going.”