Tom Sykes says changes to set-up and riding style helped him maximise his opportunity for victory at Laguna Seca to eat into Jonathan Rea's World Superbike championship lead.
After narrowly missing out on victory in race one to Rea, the Kawasaki rider admitted he need a series of set-up changes as well as compromising his riding style to enjoy the required gains which proved enough to secure Sykes his first victory in the US since 2014.
Coupled with Rea's retirement in race two, Sykes has slashed the points deficit in the riders' championship to 46 heading into the summer break.
Despite Rea's DNF Sykes was continuously pressured by Aruba.it Racing Ducati duo of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies for victory but was able to fend off his rivals with the help of the overnight adjustments.
“We struggled with edge grip today so I had to change my style a little bit to defend my line,” Sykes said, who admitted he'd been losing time on corner exits in race one. “It destroyed the lap time but gave us the 25 points.
“Overall, it was good race for the spectators and a close one between three riders. I am happy enough but it was a difficult race in some ways. The restart was one more thing to think about and we made some changes, making the best of the situation. We never had the perfect set-up but I feel we made a good compromise.”
Assessing his race weekend overall Sykes moves into the two-month summer pause with some much-needed momentum after halting Rea's three-race winning streak and will look to claw back the 46-point deficit in round 10 at the Lausitzring when the campaign restarts in mid-September.
“We have made a good weekend, with pole position, a second place and a win,” Sykes said. “We will go into the summer break on a high and try to learn from the information we took from the previous Misano round and this one, and then try to put the jigsaw together for the last part of the season.”