Tom Sykes has lifted himself into the battle for second place in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship after recording his third consecutive victory at Knockhill.

Something of a surprise victory given his seventh place starting position, Sykes was imperious in the first race of the weekend as he capitalised on a strong start to dice for lead almost straight away.

Indeed, after making the most of the slightly drier centre of the grid, Sykes propelled himself off the line to move into second place at the first corner, the Rizla Suzuki rider quickly latching onto the back of Michael Rutter's Ducati.

However, with the earlier rain still making the surface quite treacherous offline, Sykes's first two efforts to pass Rutter resulted in him running wide and allowing his rival back through. Nonetheless, his third attempt on lap eight finally saw him make the pass stick, a move that would spur him on to sprint away to an eventual three second victory.

Coming three weeks after his first BSB win - followed promptly by his second - at Oulton Park, Sykes was thrilled to be back on top of the podium again.

"Race one was fantastic, my Rizla Suzuki was doing just what I wanted it to and once I passed Michael Rutter for the lead I controlled the gap until the end. A couple of the back-markers upset my rhythm a little but I kept going and to score my third Superbike win is brilliant."

With tricky weather conditions and two restarts blighting the second race, Sykes was unable to repeat that feat, but after still finishing fourth, he is now just eight points behind Crutchlow in the battle for second in the standings.

"Race two was more difficult with a wet first part and then damp but drying second. Fourth is OK and I'll take the points but if it had been another couple of laps long I would have been able to take the two riders in front of me and a second was on the cards, if not another win.

"I am frustrated a little at the result but overall it's been a good weekend - thank you to my Rizla Suzuki team for all the effort and support."

Jack Valentine was particularly emotional following Sykes's win after the first race, the team manager dedicating the victory to his late friend Craig Jones,

"It has been a difficult race day with the weather changing by the minute. Tom did brilliant in race one and is riding very well indeed, he deserved the victory. If the second race had gone full distance then I think he may have been second or better but fourth is no disgrace. He is hungry for more wins and they will come that's for sure.

"It's been another positive weekend for Rizla Suzuki and we are now much closer to second in the Championship with Tom than when we started - that is now our clear target for the season. Also, on behalf of Rizla Suzuki, I would like to dedicate the first race win to Craig Jones, a friend to many of the team and a great talent lost to British racing."