World Superbike Championship: Tom Sykes clinches title in Jerez
Britain's Tom Sykes has won the World Superbike Championship title after a third-place finish in Jerez.
Last Updated: 20/10/13 6:25pm
The Huddersfield-born 28-year-old Kawasaki rider did enough to take the championship at the Spanish circuit by finishing behind Ireland's Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) and the Gold Bet BMW of Italian Marco Melandri.
Sykes, who lives in Coventry, became the fourth British winner of the title after Carl Forgarty, Neil Hodgson and James Toseland.
"I'm absolutely over the moon, so emotional. I was shedding a few tears on the slowing down lap, I was shaking," said Sykes.
"There have been lots of sacrifices to get here. Finally we're here and what a feeling."
Sykes had lost the title in 2012 by a half point to Italian Max Biaggi and also started this year with a cracked bone in his left wrist but was able to cope with an up-and-down season to take the title.
He added: "Luckily this is our moment. I was so close last year. I've been waiting a long time for this and she's finally here."
Laverty, who won a fierce battle with Melandri to take the race win, added: "Congratulations to Tom on the championship. Tom and Kawasaki moved the goalposts very far this year.
"They did a fantastic job and congratulations to them."
Despite the pressure, Sykes rode a controlled race while Laverty and Melandri disputed the victory ahead of him.
The Irishman held the lead for most of the race until his Italian rival went ahead of him in the closing stages.
But Laverty went around the outside of Melandri in the final corner to snatch the win.
Sykes finished safely in third after dealing with the attentions of Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli on the second factory Aprilia.
Laverty added a second race win later on Sunday. Sykes led until half distance before being overtaken and eventually settled for second place, with Gunitoli in third.