Kawasaki World Superbike contender Tom Sykes has stepped up his training programme in preparation for the opening race of the 2012 season at Phillip Island in Australia on February 26.

The Yorkshire ace recently travelled to Spain, where he was assessed by leading sports medical professional Dr Ricard Pruna, who is responsible for the welfare of the players at Barcelona Football Club.

Sykes will benefit from Dr Pruna's expertise throughout the season as he aims to build on his performances from 2011 and become a regular challenger for the podium positions.

Like many motorcycle racers, Sykes hones his fitness level through cycling during the winter training period and he intends to clock up the miles in the countdown to the opening round on a new Scott road bike supplied by new Newcastle-based sponsor KB Cycles.

"Cycling is an important part of my training and having the right bike for the job certainly makes things better," Sykes said. "I would like to thank Keith and all at KB Cycles for their fantastic support and I hope this is a good start to a great season and relationship."

A keen motorcycle fan, KB Cycles owner Keith Bradley was only too willing to offer support to Sykes ahead of the new campaign.

"We hope by giving Tom the right tools for his training and with another year under his belt he can be right up there and amongst the front runners during 2012," he said.