Tom Sykes celebrated the news that he will defect to the World Superbike Championship next season by topping the second free practice session of the weekend at Croft.

With the shock announcement making Sykes a man very much in demand, the Rizla Suzuki rider kept his composure to go third quickest in the morning before going quickest in the afternoon.

It wasn't a trouble-free day for Sykes though following a fall in the first session at Tower, although he wasn't hurt and the damage to his bike was minor.

Looking to strengthen his second place in the standings at his home circuit this weekend, Sykes is confident he and the team are will continue to be strong.

"Today has been a fairly steady start to the weekend; I did enough laps to get a feel for the place and to start work on dialling in my Rizla Suzuki. I had a small tip off this morning but it was nothing serious, I just tucked the front end at Tower corner.

"We have a good direction to go in and I know my team will give me the bike I need to do the job this weekend just as they have done before. I'm really up for it as this is my home round and I've a lot of family and friends coming along."

Team-mate Atsushi Watanabe, meanwhile, made a solid start to be eighth quickest in the morning, although he was down to 12th by the afternoon.

"I enjoy riding at Croft it is very flat like Japanese track. I came here a few weeks ago for a track day so I have some knowledge of the circuit. I need to get more laps under my belt as the fast section at the back is still difficult.

"Only difference between Japanese track and Croft is the bumps - very bumpy here. I like the track and I want another top 10 for my Rizla Suzuki team."