After worrying about it coming into the weekend, Tom Sykes made the most of a wet Superpole format to secure a superb sixth on the grid on his World Superbike debut at Brands Hatch.
Having been unsure of how he would perform over a single Superpole lap, Sykes needn't have worried when rain forced organisers into reverting to the 12 laps in 50-minutes format.
While the track continued to offer up difficult conditions, Sykes remained committed in the final stages to briefly place his bike on the front of the grid, before eventually being bumped down by a number of strong later laps.
Even so, a second row start signals a marvellous performance for the British Superbike competitor, not least because it makes him the best of the Suzuki contingent. It also places him above more seasoned campaigners such as Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa.
“A second row start on my first time out in Superpole is fine with me," smiled Sykes. "The weather made for tricky conditions but we have got a good starting position and know we have decent race pace.
"On my final quick lap I didn't push quite as hard as I might have. I wanted to get a good starting position and once that was achieved I didn't want to risk a crash trying a little bit too hard for a couple more 10ths of a second – there was still a damp line at Stirling's."
Although open minded about his chances for in the races Sykes does believe that a podium result can be achieved.
"This is a new experience for me and we are all really enjoying ourselves and hopefully putting on a good show. I am confident for tomorrow and it is all credit to my Rizla Suzuki team for giving me a fantastic bike that is so competitive. I'm not sure what we can achieve in the races but if I do get a sniff of the podium, I'll be going for it," he declared.