Tom Sykes is taking the positives of an upturn in race performance aboard his BMW away from round five of the World Superbike Championship at Imola despite having little to show for in terms of points.

The new factory-backed BMW S1000RR has shown flashes of form this season – especially over a single lap - both in the hands of new signing Sykes and team-mate Markus Reiterberger, but arguably demonstrated its best race showing this season in Italy.

Having qualified sixth for race one, a superb start by Sykes saw him climb to fourth early on before rising to third at the expense of the retired Chaz Davies. However, technical issues would force him to retire from what looked set to be BMW’s first WorldSBK podium since 2013.

More frustration was to follow in the Superpole race when a tyre pressure problem on the sighting lap necessitated a pit-lane start. However, Sykes demonstrated excellent forward momentum to overtake ten bikes in ten laps en route to eighth.

With race two abandoned on safety grounds, Sykes admits there is frustration to the outcome of the weekend on paper but plenty of encouragement in practice.

“We just had a little bit of bad luck. The tyre pressure was finally correct but on the grid it was a little bit low because I made a slow lap to the grid. The chassis of the BMW S 1000 RR was working very well. I made obviously a lot of passes in ten laps.

“Sure, I’m a bit disappointed but we’re making progress all the time, the team works very hard and I am sure we will have some good fortunes soon.

“For now it has been a strange day, another race cancelled due to safety conditions, and now we are moving on to the next race where I hope the package can also be competitive. So keep working and hoping we will get the result we’re all working forward very soon.”

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