Tom Sykes says he was content with taking third place in the Magny-Cours opener as he focuses on securing the runner-up spot in the 2017 World Superbike championship.

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider spent the bulk of the race in second place holding off Marco Melandri but after the pair collided on the penultimate lap the British rider eventually yielded on the final lap to finish third.

Despite his last-lap heartache Sykes was satisfied with a rostrum result as it had been less than two weeks since his surgery on a fractured finger and wrist sustained his a crash at Portimao last time out.

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“Considering the injury I had I am just happy to be here, never mind get on the podium,” Sykes said. “At times I struggled with edge grip in the track conditions, and Marco Melandri had good side grip towards the end. We had a bit of a ‘kiss’ in turn three as out paths crossed, while fighting for second place.

“I was third today but if somebody had offered me this kind of result two weeks ago, I would have taken it.

“I struggled to put on my socks in the morning so I am not sure how I could manage to ride the bike! Thanks to Kawasaki for making it possible for me to ride and for making it as comfortable as possible for me to ride.”

Sykes has moved 25 points clear of Chaz Davies in the battle for second place in the riders’ standings after his Kawasaki team-mate Jonathan Rea sealed the 2017 title with five races to spare.