Tom Sykes wins title
An emotional Tom Sykes admitted he had shed tears after winning the World Superbike Championship.
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The Huddersfield-born 28-year-old Kawasaki rider, who missed out on the 2012 title by half a point, finished third in the opening race of the final round at Jerez.
Sykes did enough to take the championship at the Spanish circuit as he finished 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," Sykes told British Eurosport.
"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 half a 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."
Laverty held the lead for most of the race until his Italian rival went ahead of him on the penultimate lap.
But Laverty went around the outside of Melandri in the final corner to snatch a dramatic victory.
Sykes rode to a safe third place after dealing with the attentions of Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli on the second factory Aprilia.
Hampered by his left wrist injury at the start of the season Sykes had taken his time to show his true speed.
But a first and a second at round three in Holland showed he would be a title contender and he followed that up by taking a double race win at Donington Park.
Sykes repeated that in Italy but his second home round at Silverstone proved a low point as he could only finish 11th and seventh.
But from there Skyes showed the sort of form which has earned him the title, taking a race win in Germany, two podium finishes in Turkey, a win and a fourth in the United States and a double victory in France before sealing the title in Spain.
Sykes did not have it all his own way in race two as he was forced to settle for second place.
Sykes had led until half distance but then Laverty took control, winning his second race of the day comfortably from the newly-crowned champion with Gunitoli finishing in third.
Tom Sykes factfile
1985: Born on August 19 in Huddersfield.
2002: Races in British Superstock Championship.
2003: Makes British Supersport Championship debut, finishing in eighth overall.
2004: Takes fifth place in British Supersport.
2005: Places sixth in the championship standings.
2006: Placed second in the British Supersport Championship behind Cal Crutchlow who has since moved on to MotoGP.
2007: Moves to British Superbike Championship with Stobart Vent-Axia Honda, finishing sixth overall.
2008: Finishes fourth in British Superbikes for Rizla Suzuki, taking his first two races wins at Oulton Park.
2009: Moves to World Superbikes with Yamaha Motor Italia and finishes in ninth.
2010: Spends the season with the Paul Bird Kawasaki team but struggles to 14th on an uncompetitive machine.
2011: Takes his first World Superbike win in Germany but finishes 13th in championship.
2012: Takes four race wins but loses out on the world title by half a point to Italian Max Biaggi.
2013: Wins the World Superbike title after taking nine race wins, his first championship win.