Tom Sykes says he’s approaching the 2018 World Superbike championship with a different mindset having grabbed the headlines by topping the timesheet at the second day of the Jerez pre-season test.

Sykes notched up a 1m 38.889s in the closing stages of the second day of testing at Jerez to clinch the top time by over half a second from Kawasaki team-mate Jonathan Rea. Sykes, who used a qualifying tyre and old front tyre to set the top time, is content with progress made at the test in Spain getting used to its new 14,100 RPM rev limit impose by the new technical regulations.

Having used 2017 to adjust his riding style to suit the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR, the 2013 World Superbike champion says he’s now adjusting his mental approach for the new season as he aims to halt Rea’s domination in World Superbikes having taken three consecutive world titles.

“I am definitely getting my head around how to ride it a little bit better and I have a different mindset this year,” Sykes said. “I am really looking forward to finishing testing off and heading over to Australia. I feel we are more prepared and ready for action.

“Of course we used a qualifying tyre to our fastest time but we used it along with an old front tyre. I had a small crash and credit to the boys in the team because they swapped all the suspension and everything into the second bike and I went back out on track to test something else. I was straight back into fantastic lap times.

“I think even on race tyres we were the fastest but that was not the target. The target was to understand the bike, and I have to say I am very happy with our performance even on very old tyres. Even though the bike is moving in those conditions, the lap time is nice.”

Sykes and the majority of the World Superbike grid is heading to Portimao for a second two-day test on the 28-29 January before packing up to head to the 2018 season opener at Phillip Island in Australia next month.