Huddersfield's Tom Sykes enters the Laguna Seca round of the Superbike World Championship looking to stretch his lead.
The Kawasaki Racing Team rider goes to the USA with an eight-point lead ahead of Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli, and a desire for more race wins to strengthen his position at the top of the rankings.
The 28-year-old will be joined in the USA by a new KRT teammate in David Salom, who will ride as a replacement for the injured Loris Baz, who fractured a vertebra in the last round in Istanbul.
Sykes, who claimed two podium finishes in Turkey behind Aprilia’s ‘double’ winner Eugene Laverty, said: “I am feeling happy with how things are going.
“It was good to leave the previous round in Turkey with an extended championship lead, but I wanted to do even better there.
“We lost a bit of time in practice to the weather and it was a circuit I had not raced at before.
“If there had been a third race that weekend I am very confident we could have improved the set-up of the bike and made another big step forward.”
The trip to the States also gives Sykes another new challenge.
“On the back of those two podium results in Turkey we are going to Laguna Seca now, which is another new circuit for me,” said Sykes, who was second and third in the races in Istanbul.
“It is considerably shorter than Istanbul was and I should have more track time than I had in Turkey.
“I am happy and confident in the package of the Ninja ZX-10R.
“We are heading into the final three rounds and it is amazing how quickly they tick by.
“I have heard that Laguna is a beautiful track and that it is quite tight and technical, a bit like some of the circuit layouts I experienced when riding in BSB.
“Only a couple of weeks ago I was in San Diego, California, which is not too far away from Laguna.
“I am looking forward to getting back out there because I enjoy America as a country and I hope to bring back some good memories from my first trip to Laguna Seca.”
Sykes has ridden his Ninja ZX-10R to six race wins in a total of 13 podium places this season, and along the way has also notched seven Superpoles in qualifying and nine race fastest laps.