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Sykes holds onto top spot as test ends

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes firms his status as 'one to watch' ahead of the 2012 World Superbike Championship as he tops the timesheets in official testing at Phillip Island.

Tom Sykes heads into the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island on a high after ending the official pre-season test at the same circuit with the fastest time.

With only a handful of riders improving their lap times during the fourth and final WSBK test session, Sykes's timesheet topping effort of 1min 31.648secs in S3 was enough for him to emerge quickest overall.

A significant boost for Kawasaki, which has shown impressive form since Provec came on board as its team partner, Sykes has now emerged as a possible victory contender when race action gets underway this weekend.

Though he would fall a crucial 0.004secs behind Sykes during the optimum third outing, reigning champion Carlos Checa was otherwise the form man at the test, topping three of the four sessions, including Tuesday's afternoon outing.

He was followed up in the session itself by Max Biaggi, Jonathan Rea and Sykes, though lap times were comfortably down during S4.

As such, the overall timesheets mirrored those of the Tuesday AM session, with Jakub Smrz, Rea, Biaggi, Marco Melandri, Davide Giugliano, Leon Camier and Sylvain Guintoli making up third to ninth, while the absent Leon Haslam was still tenth best with his sole S1 outing.

Behind them, Sykes's team-mate Joan Lascorz was 11th fastest, ahead of BMW Italia's Michel Fabrizio, Red Devils Roma's Niccolo Canepa, Honda's Hiroshi Aoyama and Effenbert-Liberty Ducati's Maxime Berger.

British rider Chaz Davies, who has been recovering from illness this week, was one of the few riders to post an improvement during the final session on the way to 18th place.

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