Tom Sykes feels his run to second position in both World Superbike Championship races at Brno is proof that he has the pace to challenge for wins, the Kawasaki rider falling just short of victory on each occasion.
Sykes came into the weekend with commentators questioning his durability over a race distance having so far failed to convert any of his six pole positions into a victory.
However, having claimed to have found a breakthrough in testing at Motorland Aragon, Sykes had the perfect chance to answer his critics by starting both races from a seventh pole position of the season.
And so it proved, Sykes leading the majority of both races and sustaining his lap times to the latter stages, even if didn't have an answer to Marco Melandri when the Italian charged past on the penultimate lap of race one and the last lap of race two.
Despite missing out on victory, Sykes was pleased finish both races at the head of the field, claiming his strong, consistent pace is proof of a turned corner.
“We started very strong in race two and the lap time was good, then the tyre dropped a little bit in performance but the very small adjustment we made after race one meant that the tyre felt very consistent,” he said. “I made my own race out in front alone and I think I am quite good at managing it and it seemed to work. We started to go a little bit faster towards the end but I felt a little bit of attack from Melandri.
“Finally the lap time got affected but it was great to battle with a rider like this. We know he is strong on the brakes but with help from Kawasaki and my crew chief Marcel I had a bit of an answer today. I was not quite as easily dealt with as in previous races. Hopefully we can carry this forward. Having the Ninja ZX-10 working so well at the end of the race is such a good breath of fresh air. It has proved a few people wrong.
Reflecting on his clash with Jonathan Rea in the first race when the Honda rider crashed whilst attempting to overtake at turn 11, Sykes says his countryman 'went for a gap that wasn't there'.
“In race one I felt the hit when Jonathan Rea and I collided. Jonathan went for a gap that unfortunately was not there. I tried to stay with Marco in race one and when I attacked the corner the front was not allowing me to attack so I ran a bit wide to square the corner off and when I did I just saw a bit of Jonathan in my side view, at which point it was too late.”
Sykes's double podium lifts him back up to third position in the overall standings, 59 points behind leader Max Biaggi.