On the weekend it was assured his immediate future remains with Kawasaki in the World Superbike Championship, Tom Sykes celebrated his new 2013 contract in perfect style with his second win – and first haul of 25 points – of the season season.
The British rider has been victorious once already this year at Monza, but the early stoppage meant he was only rewarded with 12.5 points on that occasion.
However, with the first race of the day at the Moscow Raceway taking place in tricky conditions, a confident Sykes sprung to the front from the first bend and proceeded to multiply his advantage to 3.3secs in just four laps.
With his rivals battling it out for second place behind him, Sykes was left to cruise to an easy lights-to-flag victory, the win coming just 24 hours after it was announced he had re-signed with the manufacturer for the 2013 season.
Notching up his first maximum haul of 25 points this season, Sykes consolidated his form with a run to second position in the second race, results that have slashed the gap to Max Biaggi
in the fight for second in the standings.
Indeed, as it stands, Sykes is just 22.5 points behind Biaggi, while his identical results to Melandri in Russia means he remains in with an outside shout of the title, 41 points behind the BMW rider.
“This race win was better than the Monza one as we got a little bit more of a reward in points terms,” he said. “I did a lot of work on tyres yesterday and we went a slightly different way from most people in race one. We worked a lot on this yesterday and that work paid off today. The bike felt great. I had a little bit of pressure on at half race distance but I was trying to save the tyre a little bit.
“When the gap got down to three seconds I pushed on a little more and it seemed to work. To lead start-to-finish and take the win over full race distance is very rewarding. We had a good margin at the end and it was a nice race. Quite a long race, to be honest, and it is quite a physical circuit. The lap is short but more concentration and physical input in needed compared to some other circuits. Overall we should be very satisfied.
“Race one was great with maximum points and race two gave us another 20 points in the bag. I got a little bit carried away battling with Eugene behind me in race two and in trying to save my tyre I did not read the pit signals. When I looked there were two laps remaining and I wanted to push on and try to pressure Marco in the last few laps.
“I felt I had a good package today and could have done it, but when you are riding with guys of Marco's standard you cannot leave things to the last minute. But, realistically, we are happy. A first and second, still third overall and the gap at the front tightening up. There are still a lot of points to play for.”