Tom Sykes has set his sights on a first World Superbike podium with Yamaha after claiming a top five finish on only his second outing with the team in Qatar.
Refusing to be overshadowed by team-mate Ben Spies, Sykes has been closer than ever to the American's pace this weekend, the British rider proving as much when he qualified at the front of the second row.
Although he couldn't match that in race one when he was bullied down to 12th position over the first few corners and only had time to make it back to seventh, a more aggressive start by Sykes in race two paid dividends as he came home in a confident fifth place.
While he admits he thought he could have mounted a podium challenge in the second race, he refused to begrudge his fifth place finish and is now looking forward to making amends in Valencia.
“I was very disappointed with race one,” he said. “I didn't get the best of starts but it was turns one and two that really let me down so I played a lot of catch up and needed to make it happen. In race two we changed a couple of things on the bike and got a decent start.
“I tried not to get into trouble in the first two corners and got a couple of people in front of me who I didn't want there so put my head down and eventually took them. We got a nice gap behind us and so I was looking ahead and trying to work onto a podium position.
“At one stage I thought we were there but struggled in a couple of places and had to override the tire so lost a bit of pace. The team has been great, we're taking it step by step so hopefully we'll be on the podium in Valencia!”
Sykes' results help him move up to sixth position in the overall WSBK standings.