Tom Sykes is excited to be starting his second World Superbike race with the Yamaha team from fifth on the grid after a much improved showing in Qatar.

Sykes has steadily climbed the leaderboard over the course of the weekend, moving up to a front row slot in provisional qualifying and getting close to team-mate Ben Spies' pace during the free practice session before Superpole.

Comfortably making it through the first two knockout phases, Sykes admits he was confident of a front row starting position during the shootout, but a small mistake on his best lap meant he had to be content with fifth.

Nonetheless, compared to his 12th position on the grid in Australia, Sykes was pleased to have made a substantial gain in performance between the events.

"To be honest I was reasonably happy with the qualifying, I certainly felt like I could have been on the front row but made a small mistake so dropped to the second.

''I'm happy on the race tyres and I think both myself and Ben have a consistent race pace so if we can get away cleanly tomorrow I think it'll show at the end of the race.

"Other than that I'm happier with where we're starting compared to Phillip Island and really looking forward to getting off the line quickly and racing with the front pack tomorrow."