TOM SYKES admitted he paid the price for other riders’ mistakes after his tough World Superbike season got even harder during round four in Assen.
The 24-year-old – from Fenay Bridge – has picked up just 13 points from the first six races in Australia, Portugal and Spain.
Sykes qualified a solid, if unspectacular, 14th at the Dutch circuit, but clawed his way to 12th during an opening race that saw as many as 13 riders battle for the podium.
The Kawasaki Racing rider had high hopes of building on that in race two only to get shunted from behind by Italian Lorenzo Lanzi minutes after the start.
And Sykes – who sits 16th in the championship standings with 17 points – is adamant he would have built on his race one finish if it wasn’t for the reckless Italian.
“Race two was the biggest disappointment for me as I got caught up with some desperate riders who made mistakes very early on and I paid the price,” said Sykes.
“I was gutted and the team were gutted because we were looking really good to improve on what we did during the first race.
“I got an okay start in race one but it was really hot and the weather conditions were a lot warmer than in the morning for the warm-up.
“I got away in the top ten or 11 and was holding my own but I gradually lost grip of the front of the bike towards the end of the race and had to settle for 12th.”
While Sykes was left to rue what might have been at the famous Assen circuit his fellow British rider’s weren’t as Jonathan Rea lead a home one-two-three in both races.
Rea was joined on the podium by James Toseland and Leon Camier in race one and the former double world champion again as well as championship leader Leon Haslam in race two.
And while absent from joining in the British success Sykes – who is 131 points away from Haslam – believes he and his Kawasaki team have turned a corner.
“After qualifying we had a look at the data and to the team’s credit they came up with a few good ideas and we vastly improved,” he added.
“We suddenly found some extra pace and were fast and consistent. We came to Assen with open minds and with machine settings and lessons we learned from previous rounds.
“It was hard work but we are making progress and altering the bike to get the best from the whole package.”
The World Superbike Championship races will be broadcast on Eurosport, with the European rounds also available in High Definition. Eurosport Sky 410 & Virgin Media 521. Eurosport HD is on Sky 412 and Virgin Media 522.