Tom Sykes says his pace was a “pleasant surprise” last time out at Magny-Cours in World Superbikes after returning to action less than two weeks on from surgery on a fractured wrist and finger which gives him confidence for Jerez.

Last month Sykes endured a nasty FP3 crash at Portimao in which he suffered a fractured wrist and finger, while also dislocating the finger, and after sitting out the Portuguese races he bounced back with a podium in France, before suffering with tyre wear in race two to finish seventh.

With three more weeks of recovery Sykes concedes he still isn’t “100% yet” but says his relative recovery has been remarkable as he focuses on securing the runner-up spot in the riders’ World Superbike championship after seeing Kawasaki team-mate Jonathan Rea seal the title in France.

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“We still have things to do before the end of the season and I am looking forward to riding again at Jerez,” Sykes said. “We have won there before and done a lot of testing there. I am definitely looking forward to getting on the bike again, even though I am not 100% yet with my hand injury.

“In my eyes, I am considerably better than I was at Magny Cours in the previous round. So that gives me extra confidence and motivation.

“Hats off to the team of people who have looked after me and helped me to get to this stage. It is unbelievable how far we have come with the injury in such a short space of time. In the approach to Jerez we need to do what we did in France again because I was pleasantly surprised in our pace there. It worked out nicely for me.”

Sykes is hoping to defend his nine-point advantage over Chaz Davies for the runner-up spot over the final two rounds at Jerez and Losail.