Tom Sykes has hailed his breakthrough World Superbike weekend at Imola, despite just missing out on a well deserved podium finish in both races.
The Kawasaki rider caused a major upset during the damp Superpole by placing the ageing ZX-10R – which will be competing in its final WSBK event next week at Magny-Cours – on pole position, the Briton going on to shrug off the pressure of starting at the front to lead both races.
Spending a total of 14 laps at the head of the field over the course of the day, although Sykes couldn't hold his rivals at bay to claim a podium result, his efforts will be noted as one of the manufacturer's more memorable performances in World Superbikes.
Eventually ending his weekend with fourth and sixth place finishes, the results mean Sykes alone has scored more points that Kawasaki managed as a whole in 2009, while he is just five points shy of the 2008 total too.
“I don't think we could have hoped for anything more this weekend. We've had a pole position and a fourth and sixth place and I think we have proved now that we are in the same league. I am so happy but I am also trying to keep my feet on the ground.
“I just love racing on empty tarmac which I had a taste of today and loved it. It's a great result for the PBM Team and Kawasaki and I feel like I am in a dream, I certainly didn't expect this when I came here.
“The guys have given me a great package and I am so happy I have been able to repay them with great results.”
Sykes's performances comes as his future in World Superbike remains uncertain, though it is rumoured he will ride a third ZX-10R in 2011.