Double top ten for Sykes on Yamaha bow

Tom Sykes was left to rue getting swamped at the start of both World Superbike races at Philip Island, but was pleased to record a pair of top ten results on his full-time debut with the Yamaha team.

Although team-mate Ben Spies has occupied the majority of the Yamaha related headlines on the first weekend of action in Australia, Sykes was nonetheless satisfied with his performance in both races, even if his efforts were undermined by poor starts on each occasion.

Starting from 12th position, Sykes slid down onto the edge of the top twenty in the early stages of race one, his progress being hampered further when he was caught up in an accident with Ruben Xaus and Ryuichi Kiyonari.

Nonetheless, Sykes gradually worked his way back up the order, capitalising on a much improved Yamaha R1 to eventually cross the line in tenth place.

"It's not easy in the first couple of turns with the whole pack,” he said. “I got off line going in to turn one in the first race and got pushed wide, there were people everywhere!

“Then going into the Honda hairpin, I was just going underneath Xaus and someone came up the inside and took him out and that pushed me back. The incident lost me three or four seconds, I couldn't believe it, I guess that's the nature of Phillip Island!

“The most positive thing for me was that we made changes with the bike this morning and found a really good setting so I know now I can run race pace and keep at the sharp end, the bike is awesome, especially down the start finish straight. Because the bike was working so well I felt really fresh and able to keep pushing on, I was sure I could get to eighth but I ran out of time.”

He repeated the result in the second race, although he was once again forced to stage a comeback from a first lap position of 19th. Nonetheless, a late spurt got him ahead of countryman and front row starter Jonathan Rea to ensure another brace of points.

“The second race was much of the same, a frustrating start for me, dropping back to 19th place initially, but I got my head down and stuck to my pace and worked back up, taking nine places to finish tenth.

“I was forced to overuse the tyres for the first few laps which meant my race distance suffered a bit. On a positive note I know I'm capable of running consistent times for the front of the pack."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sykes, Australian WSBK 2009
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Deroue, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK
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Bastianelli, SSP300 Race, Aragon WSBK

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MonkeyBoy - Unregistered

March 02, 2009 11:38 AM

For a young lad in such a high profile position with such a high profile team mate he's doing well and taking things at the right pace. No one expects him to win first time out but matching Spies' race pace is impressive, I reckon he'll come good towards the middle-end of the year. I wish him all the best, he's a good lad.

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