Tom Sykes says a lack of rear tyre traction in race two at Jerez denied him the chance to attack the front-runners as he slipped to level on points with Chaz Davies in the fight for the runner-up spot in the World Superbike championship.

Having finished on the podium in race one, Sykes initially made strong progress on the reversed grid for race two but a bike set-up issue saw him suffer with rear traction at Jerez which restrained his charge to fifth place.

As a result of Davies finishing third in race two, the pair are equal on 363 points after 12 rounds, with the Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider narrowly ahead on wins countback, to create a final round decider for second place in the 2017 riders’ championship after Jonathan Rea clinched a historic third consecutive world title in Magny-Cours.

“Fifth was not what I was looking for. I was struggling with the bike set-up if I am honest I could not find the rear traction,” Sykes said. “I just tried some things while riding the bike and finally it was okay to keep the lap times in the low to mid 1m 41s.

“That is as fast, or faster, than race one but for whatever reason I just could not get that grip on the rear. It is something so, so small but unfortunately you spend a lot of time on the side of the tyre here.”

Despite his frustrations Sykes was thrilled to see Kawasaki secured its own third consecutive World Superbike manufacturers’ crown after the Jerez round.

“Kawasaki has had a great run in the past few years and certainly they have a great team together which helps them reach their goal,” he said. “For the manufacturer, to get this title is probably as special as the riders’ championship. Here they got their prize for their effort.”