HUDDERSFIELD’S Tom Sykes admits he was well off the pace at World Superbike round four in Italy after his below-par start to the season continued at Monza.
Sykes had high hopes to be challenging at the sharp end of the field having finished in the top six in three of his last four outings at the historic Italian track.
However, after struggling to just 14th in qualifying, the Huddersfield ace failed to break into the top ten on race day – finishing with 13th and 11th placed finishes.
Those disappointing displays continued a difficult start to the 2011 campaign for Sykes, and the 25-year-old believes the weight of expectation is a key factor in his struggles.
Fanfares heralded the arrival of Sykes’ new Kawasaki machinery – the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R – at the start of the season, creating a false dawn according to the Yorkshireman.
"We didn’t have the speed or the race package to work with this weekend obviously there is some work to be done,” said Sykes.
“We all need to pick our heads up and stay focused and positive. I think people may expect a lot of us very early in the season with a new bike and I think that is putting a bit of pressure on.
“I got caught up in the crash at the first chicane in the second race and lost time on the exit, which made things harder.”
Despite the lofty predictions for the all-new Kawasaki machinery Sykes has largely failed to live up to the pre-season hype. His Italian travails leave him down in 13th in the overall standings, 111 points shy of early leader Carlos Checa and with a best finish of just eighth to his name.
But despite an inauspicious start to the 2011 campaign, however Sykes insists he can see some light at the end of the tunnel.The World Superbike paddock jets its way off to America for round five at Miller Motorsports Park in three weeks’ time, and Sykes is confident of his chances across the pond.
“I will keep my head down and keep working and I am still confident we can make it work,” added Sykes.
“I think I had a bit of a bit better pace early on in the second race and if I had got latched onto a leading group it could have been a bit better.”
WSB races will be shown on British Eurosport, with all European rounds in HD. British Eurosport – Sky channel 410 & Virgin Media 521. Eurosport HD is on Sky 412 & Virgin Media 522. Watch races live online at www.eurosportplayer.co.uk