Tom Sykes says despite a couple of negative races he's had a strong start to his 2016 World Superbike campaign as he bids to slash the points deficit to title fighters Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea at Imola.

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider says he's uncovered 'great potential' with the new ZX-10R but hasn't been able to demonstrate his maximum after crashing out of race one in Assen while he endured an underwhelming season opener at Phillip Island.

As a result, Sykes trails defending champion and Kawasaki team-mate Rea by 49 points, while he is 14 points off Davies, and is keen to enjoy trouble-free race weekend at Imola.

"At the previous round in Assen we did not get what we deserved but we had good speed in both the wet and the dry," Sykes said. "This motivates me so I am excited and looking forward to Imola now.

"It is a track where we have been strong in the past. The circuit itself is definitely an old school layout. It is exciting, technical and you have to be pin-point accurate round there to have a good race.

"Our season has been a little bit up and down but generally it has been up. Looking at the bigger picture, we have had great potential and just had a couple races, like Australia or Assen, where we didn't get what we deserved. We are heading in a good way and always improving."

Sykes will be aiming to emulate his memorable double victory weekend at Imola from 2013 on his way to the World Superbike championship with Kawasaki.



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