With expectations high leading into the 2022 British Superbike season, Sykes and Brookes could only manage 12th and 13th during race one - 13 seconds adrift of the podium places.

Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and BMW all represented the top six, however, the top Ducati was Tommy Bridewell in seventh, making it a tough season opener overall.  

Although it was no surprise to see Sykes out of contention for a top five due to it being his first race back in BSB since 2010, Brookes on the other hand doesn’t have such excuses.

The Australian, who was convincingly beaten by Christian Iddon in 2021, had looked strong during pre-season testing at Snetterton, however, race one brought back shades of last season’s struggles, not that of the year prior when he won the title.  

“It’s been a difficult start to the season, and I’m obviously not pleased with the result,” said Brookes. “We made a small change for the race which was possibly the wrong way. 

“We’d been improving steadily in practice and qualifying so the change, although not big, wasn’t helpful either and when I caught Tom it got quite difficult. 

“Although we’re on the same bike, we’ve got different styles of riding and I didn’t want to do anything desperate trying to get by him so I consolidated the position. 

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow but it’s only race one, so we won’t get too downhearted.”

For Sykes, the former WorldSBK champion hasn’t looked as comfortable as fellow BSB returnee Leon Haslam - the new Visiontrack Kawasaki rider lined-up fifth for yesterday’s race before a technical issue brought his day to an early end.

The MCE Ducati rider, who like Brookes was unable to go further forward despite a good start, was happy to score points but admitted being that far back is ‘frustrating’. 

Traction costing Sykes in his British Superbike debut…

Sykes said: “Today has been a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. It was good to get the first race out of the way and get some points on the board but frustrating not to be closer to the sharp end. 

“I made a good start and made some passes on the brakes with the bike turning really well but we’re suffering when we open the throttle as we haven’t got the traction we need. 

“Many aspects of the bike are in the ballpark and it’s just that one area that’s holding us back this weekend so there’s a bit of work to do in that respect. 

“I’ve got a good feeling with the bike though and there’s a great team spirit, so we’ll look to move forward tomorrow.”

What would a good Easter Sunday at Silverstone look like for Sykes and Brookes? 

Firstly, both riders will start down the order as grid positions for races two and three are organised based on lap times in race one, not where you qualified on Saturday. 

It means both Sykes and Brookes will be coming from outside the top ten, but can both riders realistically move forward given the pace we’ve seen so far? 

That will obviously be the aim, but with British Superbike at its most competitive ever, securing a top ten is likely to be the most they can achieve, and with that be a good result. 

With all that said, morning warm-up suggested a tough second and third race could be in store for both riders as Sykes was 15th and Brookes only 21st.