HUDDERSFIELD’S Tom Sykes stormed to his best World Superbike finish of the season so far at Assen – then warned Japanese leader Noriyuki Haga to watch his back.
The 23-year-old started a below-par eighth on the grid but put that to one side to finish a season best fourth in race one, with team-mate Ben Spies again topping the pile.
But the Yamaha WSB rider – who’s previous best finish was fifth in Qatar in March – had to settle for sixth in race two as Ducati’s Haga took his points tally to 180 for the season with another win.
Sykes has finished tenth or above in all eight World Superbike races this season and despite sitting 110 points behind Haga in sixth, he insists a podium finish is just one race away.
“To come away with my best finish of the season was a great way to round off the weekend,” said Sykes.
“I am improving all the time and I want people to know I am here to stay.
“I am adapting really well to the World Superbike paddock and I want the top guys to know that I am not going away.
“I would love to be here in one, two or three years time and if I keep performing the way I am I believe that is realistic.
“Everything this season has been about building on performances and now I have got one rung away from the podium I am sure it will eventually come soon.”
Sykes – who finished fourth in the British Superbike Championship last year – claimed 23 points at the Assen TT circuit and now has 70 heading into round five at Monza on May 10.
The Huddersfield ace spent three days testing at the Italian circuit prior to his Dutch exploits and admitted he will go into the next round with his confidence as high as ever.
“From the first lap I was excited about the Monza track and that rubbed off on the whole testing really,” he added.
“It isn’t long until that race now so it was good to get out there because I will know what to expect unlike most of the tracks I will go to this season.
“That will give me a little bit of confidence I just have to work a little bit on qualifying because I know there are one or two things I can improve on.”
British Eurosport has live coverage from every round of the 2009 Superbike World Championship. See the action on Sky channel 410 or Virgin Media channel 521.
Next race Monza on Sunday, May 10 – for SBK updates visit uk.eurosport.yahoo.com