Tom Sykes admits he did not fully achieve his objectives during the 2011 World Superbike Championship, despite returning Kawasaki to the top step of the podium for the first time in five years.
Sykes was embarking on his third season of WSBK racing in 2011, having competed for Yamaha in 2009 and Kawasaki in 2010, but the arrival of the latest generation ZX-10R had raised hopes that he would be a frequent front runner.
As it happens, despite flashes of pace over the course of the season – particularly in qualifying -, Sykes's results otherwise fluctuated, culminating in him finishing 13th overall, behind rookie team-mate Joan Lascorz.
Nonetheless, 2011 will at least be remembered as the year Sykes scored his maiden WSBK victory, and Kawasaki's first since 2006, when he triumphed at the rain-lashed Nurburgring event.
Even so, though Sykes was understandably thrilled to be a race winner at WSBK level, he was disappointed not to be challenging up front on a more regular basis.
"In a nutshell I did not achieve what I set out to achieve, for a number of reasons. The performance was less than I had hoped for but that said I was probably not expecting to win a race in the first year of the latest Ninja ZX-10R. But, if you had asked me the previous year in winter testing my outlook would have been to win at least one in 2011.
“When the season started things were a little bit difficult to arrive at the front. So to win one after all was fantastic. It was the consistency side that was more frustrating, to not be able to finish every weekend inside the top six. I have no problem doing consistent laps over race distance given the right package. I do not want to be labelled as somebody who is just good for one lap because I am 100 per cent sure that is not the case.
“Already this winter during testing my corner speed is a lot higher than it was through the season, and consistency over race distance has come back, so we are already correcting some things."
Despite initial speculation to the contrary, Sykes will remain with Kawasaki in a team now overseen by Provec rather than Paul Bird Motorsport.