Tom Sykes says he can be 'very happy' with a pair of top five finishes from the opening round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island after revealing he was '80 per cent' certain he wouldn't ride at all in the wake of his mammoth pre-season testing accident.
The 2012 runner-up was tipped as a race win contender around the Australian in the run up to the event, but a sizeable accident in testing at Phillip Island left him with a fractured wrist and a lack of mileage compared with his main rivals.
Despite this, Kawasaki's Sykes persevered through the pain to qualify in fourth position and pick up fifth place finishes in each race.
Though disappointed not to capitalise on the full package of the Kawasaki ZX-10R, Sykes was content to be coming away with two solid results just over a week after the accident that he thought would force him out of the round altogether.
“In race one, honestly, I was very happy with that top five,” he said. “It is a shame because we had the package to go a little bit stronger. I managed the beginning of the race but unfortunately in the last six laps, just before I passed Haslam, Davies made a nice pass into turn nine.
“Unfortunately his style is a little bit different from the one that I have set the Ninja ZX-10R for this weekend and that mean that when I was behind him I could not do exactly what I wanted to do with the bike. We were five seconds from the front, last year it was 12, so at one of our 'worst' circuits we have closed a gap and all while I have been riding injured. I think there is a bit more to come.
“Race two was completely different but I am happy to have left Phillip Island in fourth position. Our rear tyre appears to have been spinning on the rim and I had vibration and chatter, so that sacrificed corner entry. It was a shame because I could not use the bike to its full potential.
“I am happy considering that last week I was lying at the side of the track, 80% certain I would not be able to ride today. We got good points and we can build on this.”