IT WAS a day of doubles for Huddersfield racer Tom Sykes at Brno as he claimed a pair of second place finishes – then gleefully hit back at his 2012 critics.

Despite finally enjoying a breakthrough year – Sykes sits third in the standings – that he has so craved in World Superbikes, the Huddersfield ace is still battling to convince the paddock of his credentials as a main player.

Ironically, by securing pole position for the seventh time in nine rounds this year in the Czech Republic, Sykes was leaving himself open to yet more criticism.

Having turned those pole positions into just one race victory, Sykes’ ability not to last race distance ensured he was a one-trick pony in the eyes of his critics, who also felt he was unable to manage his tyres and race conservatively enough to sustain a challenge over multiple laps.

However a pair of second-place finishes in Brno did much to answer those sniping nay-sayers and left Sykes to reflect on a job well done.

“Having the bike working so well at the end of the race is such a good breath of fresh air,” said Sykes – who was pipped to the chequered flag in both races by the championships in-form rider Marco Melandri.

“It has proved a few people wrong. We started very strong in race two and the lap time was good, then the tyre dropped a little bit in performance but the very small adjustment we made after race one meant that the tyre felt very consistent.

“I made my own race out in front alone and I think I am quite good at managing it and it seemed to work. We started to go a little bit faster towards the end but I felt a bit of an attack from Marco Melandri.

“Finally the lap time got affected but it was great to battle with a rider like him. We know he is strong on the brakes but with help from Kawasaki and my crew chief Marcel I had a bit of an answer. I was not quite as easily dealt with as in previous races. Hopefully we can carry this forward.”

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