HUDDERSFIELD racer Tom Sykes made a steady start to the 2013 World Superbike Championship, nestling in fourth place in the standings after the opening meeting.
The 27-year-old Kawasaki Team Racing rider came home fifth in the two races at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit.
Sykes, still feeling the effects of an injury to his left wrist suffered in testing last week, recovered well to post results he did not expect at a track where he has struggled in recent years.
“I am happy considering that last week I was lying at the side of the track, 80 per cent certain I would not be able to ride in this meeting,” said Sykes.
“We were five seconds from the front, while last year it was 12, so at one of our ‘worst’ circuits we have closed a gap and all while I have been riding injured.
“I think there is a more to come. We got good points we can build on.”
The Aprilia Racing Team enjoyed their run out in the state of Victoria as Sylvain Guintoli won the first race and teammate Eugene Laverty claimed victory in the second.
In the first race Sykes was away second off the line and held that position for some time before being forced back.
He was only 5.73 seconds from the winner and in race two Sykes led but found that his tyre had spun on the wheel rim and his bike suffered from rear vibration from then on, but battled to his second fifth place finish.
“In race one I was very happy with that top five,” said Sykes.
“In some ways it is a shame because I managed the beginning of the race but unfortunately in the last six laps, just before I passed Leon Haslam, Chaz Davies made a nice pass into turn nine.
“Race two was completely different, but I am happy to have left Phillip Island in fourth position overall.
“Our rear tyre appears to have been spinning on the rim and I had vibration and chatter.
“It was a shame because I could not use the bike to its full potential.”