LEAMINGTON’S Tom Sykes stormed to his first win of the World Superbike season on a dramatic race day in Monza and then revealed an unlikely source of inspiration – Elvis Presley.
The 26-year-old has been on red-hot form during the first three rounds of 2012, qualifying on pole at every one and climbing the podium on three occasions.
However, while he had to settle for second on the grid at round four, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider finally finished on the top step of the podium on a controversial day in Italy.
Race one started in dry conditions but was first stopped after a string of crashes, none involving Sykes, following rain three laps in then cancelled on safety grounds amid rider protests.
More discussions followed ahead of race two but the paddock went out with Sykes opening up a near ten second lead before rain fell and ended proceedings after eight of a potential 16 laps.
Sykes was handed victory but only half the points – preventing him taking the overall lead in the championship but not from being upbeat after an Elvis-inspired ride.
“This was my second win for Kawasaki but my first this year and it was nice to get that one under the belt,” said Sykes – who sits third in the overall standings with 91.5points.
“It is a shame that I only got half points but we put on a good show in the eight laps we had and I hope I put on a good show for the Italian fans.
“This was my first podium at Monza as well so that was good and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R was working fantastically well throughout the weekend.
“I had a great start to the second race, felt good on the bike and got myself into the lead and as Elvis once said, ‘It’s now or never’.
“We went for it and every lap the bike was getting better, the track conditions better and I was confident with our package that we could do a good race distance.”
Sykes now sits just four points behind second-placed Carlos Checa and six shy of leader Max Biaggi and admitted to having to put his rivals concerns for safety at Monza to one side in order to win.
“The conditions were often very bad, so there was a lot of talk and other things going on but it was my job to keep focused,” he added.
“From the green light the feedback on my bike was fantastic and I was able to go about my business in a good way and keep out of trouble.”
British Eurosport is the Home of Bikes, showing all MotoGP, World Superbike and British Superbike races on Sky channels 410 and 411 and Virgin Media channels 521 and 525 as well as eurosportplayer.co.uk
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