Tom Sykes admits he is feeling nervous ahead of a probable maiden outing in Superpole after an impressive start to his World Superbike debut at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Sykes has been a consistent frontrunner in free practice and provisional qualifying, the Rizla Suzuki rider adapting to the unusual World Superbike format well as he heads into the final session ninth on the grid.
Enjoying the sights and sounds of the World Superbike paddock, despite being tucked away in a smaller garage than the team are used to, Sykes was thrilled to be within half a second of the leaders after the first day.
“I'm loving it,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “We have been sharing the hospitality this weekend with Suzuki and the atmosphere in there is great. It is all really laid back.
“Today has been good. We are half a second off and I am quite pleased with the way things are going. I have people saying that I should be flying because I know the circuit, but the simple fact is that I come here once a year and they come here once a year, so they know the circuit just as well, if not better.
“At the end of the day Rizla Suzuki are only 0.5secs off the world's best. We're up there and it was only the last few minutes we got bumped down.”
Attention now turns to Saturday where Sykes, provided he stays inside the top sixteen in final qualifying, will attempt the single-lap Superpole for the first time. A new concept for him, this is where the 23-year-old is anticipating could pose his biggest challenge.
“The first two front rows would be nice. We think we are in Superpole and once you're in there, you either do it or you don't.
“That is probably the most nerve-wracking thing for me. The races will be pretty straight forward, but I am a bit anxious about Superpole because you only have one lap, one chance.”