The 2013 world champion made his WorldSBK return in the shape of a private test at Jerez, where only Kawasaki and BMW were in action. 

His return to WorldSBK action also meant a first appearance aboard ZX-10RR machinery since 2018, after Sykes left the factory KRT team to join BMW.

What was expected to be a two-day test at the Spaniash circuit instead became a half-day on day-two as poor weather conditions affected running. 

While Jonathan Rea closed out the test fastest courtesy of the only sub 1m 40s lap, Sykes was just over a second off his former team-mate.

Speaking to WorldSBK.com, Sykes said: “It was nice to be on familiar territory. The test itself, honestly? I was talking to a friend before the test and he asked me my expectations. I gave him my answer, and we went past that answer. 

“I am really happy, to be honest, because all things considered, it was really nice to get to work with all the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team to start the relationship. And just really try to understand some key points. 

“Unfortunately, there was a bit of disturbance from track conditions. The test was very compressed but, honestly, I was pleasantly surprised with the end result. 

“From here we know we have got a clear plan. Overall, we know where we can work forward now. I am happy and looking forward to more time with the team and track time with the bike in the next test.”

Sykes was one of four riders that took part in the test, with Scott Redding and Alex Lowes being the others to see their first pre-season action.

The next time Sykes or any Kawasaki rider will be in action will be next year, however, one test remains before 2022 is over which is on December 13-15, as Honda and Yamaha will be in action at Jerez.