Huddersfield racer Tom Sykes is already playing catch-up in the 2016 World Superbikes Championship after reigning champion Jonathan Rea made a successful start to the new season with a double in Australia.
Sykes had to settle for fifth place in race one and sixth in race two as his 29-year-old Kawasaki Racing Team colleague followed up his victory in race one at Phillip Island with another in the second, becoming the first racer to do the double at the venue since Carlos Checa in 2011.
The 30-year-old 2013 champion Sykes had led both races after claiming the 31st Superpole of his career with a strong showing in qualifying.
However, Sykes seemed to suffer with a lack of power in race one and a mistake at the hairpin with 12 laps to go in the second race saw his hopes of podium places vanish and Sykes said: “We are definitely knocking on the door in terms of our showings at Phillip Island.
“I felt comfortable in race two up until lap 10. Going into the hairpin I struggled on the downshift. I missed gear and ran off the track.
“Unfortunately, on that lap I lost 1.6 seconds. A couple of laps later Giugliano and I came together and I lost another 1.6 seconds.
“Overall I felt much more comfortable. Unfortunately I was not in the correct track position in the last five laps of the race.
“I am happy for the progress we have made and it something we can take forward. I have never been great here, for some reason, because I love the place.”
There was even less luck knocking around down under for Fenay Bridge rider Kyle Smith.
Smith, who finished fifth in last year’s World Supersport series after claiming a first win in the series in the finale outing at Doha, was hoping to do well on his maiden ride for the CIA Landlords Insurance team on a Honda.
Having qualified on the fourth row of the grid Smith admitted: “We have only done a little testing and we perhaps are going into the race with a battle on our hands.
“But it feels good to be with an all English team and a bike similar to the one I had last season.
“Things are pretty good going into the race.”
However, the 24-year-old was not to have so much luck as the first round of the season got underway and slipped from 10th to 13th place on the first lap and was first out of the race at the start of the second lap.