HUDDERSFIELD’S Tom Sykes admitted he took one step forward and two steps back after picking up just four points during World Superbike round two in Portugal.

The 24-year-old Kawasaki Racing rider picked up where he left off during the season curtain raiser in Australia last month qualifying on the third row of the grid in 12th.

However much like his exploits on Phillip Island Sykes struggled on race day and had to settle for 15th in race one and 13th in race two.

Such a slow start places Sykes well down in the Championship standings in 16th with seven points and the Lepton man admitted he ended up making progress for nothing in Portimao.

“I qualified more or less where I had expected to and I was happy starting on the third row of the grid again,” said Sykes.

“We didn’t have the perfect set up to start off with but we made steady progress all meeting and it was unfortunate not to have made the step up during race day.

“I struggled with my starts and found it difficult to get past the traffic in front of me. I am a bit frustrated with myself as I was trying hard to overtake but just couldn’t get the grip coming into the corners or on the brakes to make the move.

“We still have work to do but I am confident in the team and the bike and with a bit more time we can hopefully start to close the gap and work towards a few more points.”

Italian veteran Max Biaggi stormed to two race wins with Sykes’ British rival Leon Haslam maintaining his early championship lead with a pair of second-place finishes

Sykes was forced to ride alone in Portugal after Kawasaki teammate Chris Vermeulen pulled out hours into Friday morning’s free practice due to an on-going knee injury.

However the Huddersfield rider admits he won’t be losing any sleep over both his and his team’s slow start with round three in Valencia less than two weeks away.

“There is no point worrying too much about it because you can only work as hard as you possibly can and I am confident we are doing that,” he added.

“I have a lot of faith in the team and the guys that I have behind me and I am confident that it will all come good.”

Team manager Paul Risbridger said: “We hope we can grab a few more points in Valencia, which I feel that we deserve overall with our consistency in the races.”

All World Superbike Championship races will be broadcast on British Eurosport, with the European rounds also available in High Definition. British Eurosport Sky 410 & Virgin Media 521, Eurosport HD Sky 412.