World Superbike champion Tom Sykes took another step forward in retaining his title at Portimao, and he wants to put heap more pressure on his rivals in the USA this weekend.

The 28-year-old Kawasaki racing Team rider claimed his seventh win of the year in race one in Portugal, and he will be out to try and replicate his 2013 season opening race winning performance at Laguna Seca in round nine.

Sykes is 43 points ahead of Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli in the championship and intends to leave America with an even greater advantage by aiming for more race wins.

“We had some success last year at Laguna,” said Sykes.

“It was my first time there and we won race one, but we had some issues in race two.

“These have been addressed since then, so I am very excited to be going back.

“I enjoy America, the way of life over there, the great circuit at Laguna, and I cannot wait to get going again.

“There will be no change of strategy and I hope we will be blessed with some sunshine. I am already looking forward to getting going there.”

Sykes reached the milestone of 21 career race victories last time out and at Laguna he should reach another landmark in his career.

When he begins race one in America he will have made 150 race starts in his World Superbike career and his statistics are already world class with 44 career podiums including his 21 wins, 33 front row starts including 22 pole positions, and 21 fastest laps in races.

Sykes scored a commanding win in the first race at the Portimao and had an almost lights-to-flag win, powering ahead of all his opponents and even surviving a worrying time mid-race when the clouds that had gathered and dropped light rain on the Portimao track.

 

In race two he simply did not have the required set-up to compete for a podium again in full wet conditions for all 18-laps and dropped from a long time second place to eighth.

Sykes said: “I enjoy winning races and the good thing is that the Ninja ZX-10R is giving me the feedback to be able to do this so I am very happy at the moment.

“I had a poor start in race one and it is a long race round here, long enough race to make some corrections. I am happy because we had a good gap then the rain started to come.

“When you are leading the championship and leading the race you do not want to do anything stupid and it was very difficult to calculate the levels of grip because in some parts of the circuit it was raining more heavily than in others.”

World Championship Standings: 1 Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 284pts, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 241, 3 Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) 236, 4 Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda) 235, 5 Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 192, 6 Chaz Davies (Ducati) 159, 7 Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 140, 8 Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Suzuki) 121, 9 Toni Elias (Aprilia) and Haslam (Pata Honda) 115.

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