For the fifth season running Huddersfield racer Tom Sykes has claimed a top three place in the World Superbikes Championship.
The 31-year-old secured second place in the 2016 championship with a podium finish in the final race of the season in Qatar.
While the championship had been won by his Kawasaki Racing Team colleague Jonathan Rea in race one of the final meeting, Sykes managed to hold off the challenge of Ducati’s Chaz Davies to take second place in the rankings – Rea ensuring his teammate got the points he needed in race two.
“To finish runner up has a better ring to it than third and Kawasaki has gone one-two in the Riders’ Championship this year,” said Sykes.
“It was a strange weekend in Qatar in some ways, but finally in the first part of race two –which eventually got red-flagged – I had found my pace and I was preparing for a longer race.
“I think our pace at the end could have also been quite good over 17 laps.
“In the restart to finally do some slower laps was something unexpected.
“After Jonathan passed me he was closing in on Chaz, but obviously when he looked at Chaz’s lap time he would have had to do something special to win.
“Jonathan has had two great seasons and he has been the man to beat.”
The final points scores ended up with Rea on 498 and Sykes on 447 – Kawasaki having already ensured the manufacturer’s title in the penultimate round at Jerez.
Sykes recorded his first top three slot in World Superbikes when he was beaten to the crown in 2012 by Max Biaggi by just half a point in the final round at Magny-Cours, but made up for that disappointment by becoming world champion in 2013 in the last meeting of the season at Jerez.
In 2014 Sykes finished runner-up again, six points behind the winner Sylvain Guintoli, and he was third last season in a campaign dogged by technical problems as he got to grips with a new bike after regulation changes to the championship.