Sykes feeling the heat
Kawasaki's Tom Sykes admits there is pressure on him at the latest round of the Superbike World Championship in Salt Lake City this weekend.
The Huddersfield rider has been the surprise package of the 2012 season to date, only finishing off the podium three times at the five rounds to date to leave him just five points adrift of series leader Max Biaggi.
Sykes turned in another pair of strong performances at the European round of the championship at Donington Park two weeks' ago, bagging a pair of third-placed finishes.
And the 26-year-old is hoping for more of the same as expectation levels grow ahead of Monday's races at Miller Motorsports Park.
He said: "I am really looking forward to going to Miller because Salt Lake is a beautiful part of the world, so the atmosphere and scene is set for me already.
"Miller has not been a spectacular venue for me in the past but it has also not been too bad. This year, with the Ninja ZX-10R the way it is, we have come a long way with the bike and I am hoping we can go there and start afresh.
"I hope we will be able to compete and we have been fairly consistent this year. Now we are only five points off the lead, which is really promising.
"There is a bit of pressure going into Salt Lake, just to keep the performance up, but the only pressure is from myself. I do not want to let myself down.
"Last time out Donington was a little bit of a challenge for us so it was good to come away with a pole position and two third places.
"My main goal is, like always, to get two top four or top five positions and keep those points coming in."
Another Briton on a high heading to America this weekend is Honda's Jonathan Rea.
The Northern Irishman secured victory in the second race at Donington, taking advantage of a last corner collision between BMW team-mates Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri.
That result puts Rea 20.5 points back in the title race and hopes a diligent approach to race set-up will reap similar dividends this time out.
He said: "Miller is a circuit that demands a lot of confidence going into some corners and we'll work this weekend with the same approach that we had at Donington.
"We weren't necessarily at the top of the timing sheets in every session but we know that race wins often come in the last five laps, so we'll follow that path again."