Tom Sykes got off to a slow start at the final round of the World Superbike Championship before improving to finish third on combined times after the final session at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Finishing just behind his championship winning Kawasaki Racing team-mate Jonathan Rea and Thursday leader Eugene Laverty, Sykes is looking to end his nine year relationship with the Japanese manufacturer on a high, and is in great shape to do so after working through his issues which saw him down in eighth at the end of FP1 to finish the day just 0.008s behind Rea.

Sykes is confident there is more to come in Qatar:

“I am feeling pretty good on the bike. We are there or thereabouts. I feel much stronger than last year. I think I have got my head around how to manage the engine a little better at this circuit. I am happy with the performance and the first day has gone better for us because normally I build for raceday.”

The British rider is already prepared for the change in track conditions brought about by the sun dipping ready for the floodlit action of the race:

“We made a few little changes on the bike but tomorrow is another day. The first practice is at 14:30 so if you change anything it is not going to give you the answer for the first race in the evening. I am hoping we can finish strongly for Kawasaki.”

The 2013 World Champion can still snatch a top three finish with a strong showing in the final round and is looking for his first podium since he scored a second place finish in France. Last season he managed a best of sixth in Qatar, which came in race one.

Sykes will be joining Markus Reiterberger in the BMW backed SMR team for 2019.