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Podium joy for Sykes at Snetterton

RIZLA SUZUKI'S Tom Sykes took a brilliant third place podium finish in the opening race of the fifth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Snetterton in Norfolk today.

In bright sunshine Tom competed for the victory in the first race and his third visit to the podium so far this season was well earned. With minor adjustments to suspension planned for race two the result may have been even better but cold driving rain ravaged the 1.952-mile Norfolk circuit and he eventually finished seventh.

Double Japanese Superbike Champion Atsushi Watanabe was making fast progress in dry conditions and scored a hard-fought 12th in the opening race. In the second wet race he struggled with the conditions and ended 20th. Ducati's Leon Camier won the first race and Shane Byrne the second.

Rizla Suzuki is back on track at the sixth round of the British Superbike Championship at Mallory Park in Leicestershire on Sunday, June 29th.

Tom: "It's great to get another podium and I think we really worked hard to achieve it in the opening race. I had to dig deep right at the end and the sheer speed of my Rizla Suzuki really helped, it was a missile down the straights.

"For the second race we made a few changes to help through the corners and if it had been dry we were in good shape; but then the rain fell. I did the best I could getting home in seventh and it's onwards and upwards from here, roll on Mallory Park."

Atsu: "Race one was good fighting fun. I feel I go faster and faster and am able to compete with other riders for good points finish. I wish for dry second race but much water on track and little grip from rear meant not ideal result.

"I feel better with my GSX-R1000 this weekend and hope that next round stay dry and I maybe get better result."

Jack Valentine, Rizla Suzuki Team Manager: "Tom's performance in the first race was excellent. He pushed hard and was just half a second away from winning the race. With the small changes to his bike he wanted, I am sure he could have competed for the victory in the second race if it had been dry. Atsu also had a good run finishing 12th.

"The weather turned cold and wet for race two and it was much more challenging for both riders with grip hard to find. In those conditions seventh for Tom and 20th for Atsu was the best they could do and Rizla Suzuki will now evaluate the data from the race to help find better settings for the future.

"It's been a tough weekend and the work the Rizla Suzuki team has put in to get another podium has been immense. Our forward momentum continues, we will go to the next round looking for more podiums and our maiden race win of the year and know we have the team, rider and bike to achieve them."

*** Rizla Suzuki premium team partner Express Insurance is running a free to enter competition for 20 pairs of VIP passes to the British MotoGP next weekend, Sunday June 22nd - to enter, simple visit www.expressbikeinsurance.co.uk/motogp before the competition ends at midnight on Tuesday 17th June.

Race one results:

1: Leon Camier (Ducati) 23:13.162
2: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +0.092
3: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) +0.597
4: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +1.026
5: Leon Haslam (Honda) +2.311
6: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +2.872
7: James Ellison (Honda) +6.050
8: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +6.437
9: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +16.842
10: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +19.540
12: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) +22.327

Race two results:

1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 18:41.592
2: Leon Camier (Ducati) +2.433
3: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +6.012
4: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +11.875
5: Leon Haslam (Honda) +14.527
6: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +19.957
7: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) +21.123
8: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +21.162
9: Tristan Palmer (Honda) +25.262
10: James Ellison (Honda) +27.488
20: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) +1 lap

Championship points after five of 12 rounds:

1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 235
2: Leon Camier (Ducati) 152
3: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 151
4: Leon Haslam (Honda) 118
5: James Ellison (Honda) 103
6: Michael Rutter (Ducati) 102
7: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) 100
8: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 79
9: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) 62
10: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) 51
15: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) 23.