Tom Sykes says he is 'far from happy' to be taking home just eight points from the latest round of the World Superbike Championship at Motorland Aragon after seeing his hopes of a podium scuppered by a final lap clash with Ayrton Badovini.
Having smashed the lap record on the way to pole position, Sykes was unable to maintain the race pace of leaders Max Biaggi
and Marco Melandri, but had the measure of a chasing pack containing Badovini, Carlos Checa
and Chaz Davies.
Resisting the attentions of Badovini throughout the second-half of the race, Sykes appeared to have done enough to score his first podium since Donington Park, but the Italian's misjudged passing attempt at turn four on the final lap would result in contact, sending both out of the race and costing the Kawasaki rider at least 16 points.
Despite the heavy damage on the ZX-10R, Sykes was out on track for the second race, though he says the windy conditions took its toll on his set-up, consigning him to eighth position at the chequered flag, much to his dismay.
“We are far from happy because we had a fantastic test last week and learned a lot,” he said. “We came here this weekend and were very strong, even in hot conditions, and I could do good lap times for a long time. I was confident for today's races but unfortunately the winds came along and that looks like it has pushed us over the edge again on the front traction side.
“We were already critical but we had the best of the situation this weekend. I was expecting a good result on the Ninja ZX-10R, but we could not do anything about it. We were still heading for the podium in race one but unfortunately someone tried a silly manoeuvre in race one and it has cost me dearly, and Kawasaki, because we could have been sitting top three in the championship still without that. The boys in the team did a fantastic job and the bike was ready when the pitlane opened for race two, so credit to them, but it is not the ideal situation for any of us to be in.
“All my boys put together a top bike for race two it was just unfortunate that with the windy conditions we were just not able to deliver. That mistake by another rider has upset me a bit and put us back but I am sure with a test tomorrow we can keep working and we will get there. I am confident we can come strong.”
Badovini, meanwhile, has apologised to Sykes for his error, insisting it was not his intention to ruin his race.
“I want to apologise to Sykes as it was not my intention to put him in a dangerous position,” the BMW Italia rider said.
The DNF, only his second of the season, means Sykes has slipped to fifth in the overall standings, 76 points behind Max Biaggi.