Tom Sykes came close to securing his first top ten finish for Kawasaki in World Superbikes after a battling performance during the opening race at Assen.

Buoyed by having made good strides during warm-up when he was fourth fastest, Sykes made swift progress during race one as he held down tenth position at one stage, ahead of both factory Ducatis and Suzukis.

It was a position he defended for some laps before losing ground as his tyres faded. Nonetheless, 12th place keeps the points ticking over for the Briton.

"We did the best job we could during qualifying but it's never that easy starting from the fourth row. After Superpole the team and I had a good chat looking over the data and to their credit they came up with a good idea for the warm up which was a vast improvement.

"We suddenly found some extra pace and were fast and consistent for this session in 3rd. Race one and I had a reasonable start but the weather conditions were a lot warmer than in the morning warm up.

"I got away in the top ten and was holding my own but gradually lost grip on the front towards the end of the race so I lost my top ten spot and had to settle for 12th."

Sykes didn't fare quite so well in the second race after being caught up in an accident with Lorenzo Lanzi and Sylvain Guintoli on the opening lap.

"Race two was a big disappointment for me as I got caught up with some desperate riders who made a mistake on lap one and I paid the price. Both the team and I were gutted as we were looking really good for an improved result for race two."

Sykes is currently 16th in the standings having scored in all but two races so far this season.

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