Tom Sykes says he can be satisfied to have extended his advantage in the World Superbike Championship after a red flag and greasy conditions conspired against him on race day at Assen.
The Kawasaki Racing rider had been looking to build on his double victory at Motorland Aragon but while he had the pace to compete with Sylvain Guintoli in race one, an early off-track moment – coupled to the Frenchman's fine form in the opening laps – would leave him playing catch up for much of the race.
Despite this, Sykes was making quick in-roads on Guintoli and was poised to catch him before the end of the race, only for an ill-timed red flag five laps from home to stop him in his tracks.
“We had the bike to do the work early on because the ZX-10R was working well. I made a mistake, which is unlike me. With the rear tyre being a little bit wider it caught the wet and the rear came around and I had to go off the track. So there was a big gap to Sylvain and I had to re-pass the boys in front.
“In the last few laps we were taking three or four tenths a lap out of him, so I think I would have caught him but passing him is another issues. I'm not the arrogant type to say I would have passed him, but we certainly would have had the bike to challenge him.”
With race two defined by wet and greasy track conditions, brought about by persistent rain and a lengthy delay to proceedings, Sykes opted for a relatively cautious ride to bring the ZX-10R home in fourth place, ahead of closest rival Guintoli and Loris Baz.
“Race two was held in very greasy conditions and we had made a small alteration to the ZX-10R set-up and it probably wasn't the best change. The good thing is that we are a lot closer than we used to be and I am sure we could have been even closer knowing now what we did not know at the start of the second race.
“For that reason I am happy and the guys closest to me in the championship had a bit of a bad race, so fourth was not too bad.”
Sykes leads the overall WSBK standings by 12 points from Guintoli.