Tom Sykes has given Kawasaki its first top five finish in almost three years at Monza with a superb ride to fifth position in the second race of the day.

The former British Superbike rider arrived in Italy determined to crack the top ten on the ZX-10R for the first time and was on form from the start of the weekend.

Only the second time Kawasaki has reached the third stage of qualifying, Sykes used his eighth place grid position to good effect in the first race as he kept out of trouble and completed his objective with a quiet run to ninth.

Moving on to race two, Sykes got a tremendous start to avoid the carnage at the opening bend and briefly run in third position. Although he would slip back to sixth as he protected his tyres, Cal Crutchlow's retirement would see Sykes become embroiled in a battle for fifth with Noriyuki Haga and Sylvain Guintoli.

Although Haga would get ahead on several occasions, Sykes kept fighting back before defending his position to the finish line.

Most notably, Sykes' fifth position is a better result than Kawasaki achieved throughout 2008 and 2009 - in fact, you have to look back to Fonsi Nieto's third place at Magny-Cours for the last time 'team green' breached the top five. It is a result Sykes is eager to build on for the remainder of the season.

"I made two good race starts this weekend and stayed out of trouble, which has really paid off. I was a bit frustrated at the start of race two as I was unable to maintain a place early on in the race, but I knew it was important to keep consistent on the tyres.

"Every time I passed the pit board and saw my positions creeping up, it really encouraged me. I had a good battle with Haga and I went to make the pass and we kept coming past each other for a few laps. With two laps to go, I really went for it and it paid off.

"I rode defensively to keep my position and I am thrilled to finish in fifth place in race two and to have two top ten race finishes under my belt. All credit to the team, these results are well deserved. It's given us all a confidence boost, now we just have to keep on it!"