Tom Sykes refused to be downcast after missing out on a podium finish at the first World Superbike race of 2016 at Phillip Island.
Just two hours after claiming his 31st career pole position in the class, Sykes was a consistent thorn in the side of team-mate Jonathan Rea in the opening laps of race one as the Kawasaki pair traded blows for the lead.
However, Sykes would lose out, first to Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies then Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden, at the turn four hairpin and although maintaining a consistent pace until the end, the Englishman couldn't recover lost ground on the leading quartet.
“I think no-one wanted to lead but Jonathan and I had good pace initially but unfortunately I lost a little bit of track position to some other riders,” said Sykes, who collected a valuable eleven points for finishing fifth. “That disturbed my rhythm a bit but we had good pace in the middle and at three quarters distance.”
In the post-race paddock show, Sykes made the throwaway comment that “I couldn't beat my team-mate here even if he was in a wheelbarrow,” one that was intended to underline his traditional struggles to fight for race wins in Australia.
Because of his mixed record at the seaside Australian track, Sykes took the positives from finishing just 3.4 seconds behind the race winner, and insisted the season is yet young.
“Really, it was just on two corners on the track where we struggled and I was able to take an advantage in many areas but I lost it all in two vital areas of the racetrack.
“I had to ride around this but on the plus side the gap to the front was smaller than we have had in the past here and we are improving the feeling all the time. I am not downbeat and it is a long season. Now we have another race tomorrow.”