HUDDERSFIELD’S Tom Sykes was left to rue what might have been after he struggled to hit top form during round six of the World Superbike season in South Africa.
The 23-year-old – who graduated to the world stage from the British Superbikes this winter – had high hopes for a top-five finish after enjoying some successful pre-season testing at the Kyalami circuit.
But after qualifying eighth on the grid the Yamaha WSB rider struggled to move through the field, ending yesterday with ninth and tenth place finishes as he added just 13 points to his season’s tally.
And Sykes, who grabbed two sixth places at Monza, admits his South Africa experience was a case of missed opportunities after dropping to seventh in the championship.
“I’d already been to Kyalami so I felt like I had a bit of an advantage coming into this weekend,” said Sykes.
“I knew which way the track went round which is more than I’ve known for some of the places we’ve been to this year so I was feeling good. I felt like I could have made the top five out here so but it just didn’t go as planned really – but I’ve been consistent this year and that is important if I want to progress later in the year.
“I’ve got some good points on the board which is the main thing and hopefully I’ll be able to build on that.”
Sykes’ teammate Ben Spies failed to turn his sixth successive pole of the season into victory as championship leader Noriyuki Haga claimed a double victory.
Huddersfield ace Sykes now lies seventh in the overall standings with 103 points and, despite his South African disappointment, insists he will be back in the hunt at round seven in America in two weeks.
“For one reason or another, the bike has not been quick enough to be on the podium yet this season,” he said. “But me, and the team are working really hard to make sure that we can get up to that standard.
British Eurosport 2 has live coverage from every round of the 2009 Superbike World Championship. See the action on Sky channel 411 or Virgin Media channel 525. Next race Miller Motorsport Park, USA on Sunday May 31 and for SBK updates visit uk.eurosport.yahoo.com