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Kawasaki's Tom Sykes excited ahead of return to Jerez in World Superbike

Championship leader Tom Sykes is eagerly anticipating returning to Jerez as he closes in on back-to-back World Superbike titles.

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The Kawasaki rider secured the 2013 crown at the circuit last October in the final meet of the season, a third-placed finish in race one proved enough to stave off nearest rival Eugene Laverty.

Sykes heads back to the Spanish track for this weekend's action in a similarly dominant position with Aprilia's Sylvain Guintoli, who sits second in the standings, some 44 points adrift.

The World Superbike season returns after a near two-month break and, if results go in his favour, Sykes - who penned a two-year extension with the team last month - could be in a position to retain his title at the penultimate race weekend in Magny-Cours.

For now, however, the 29-year-old is relishing going back to a circuit that harbours great memories from last season's success.

"The emotions involved in going back to Jerez are massive. I had never won a championship before last year and then I dived in at the deep and won the Superbike World Championship title," he is quoted as saying by the World Superbike official website.

"We have improved the bike a little bit during a test at Portimao, after [the last race in] America, so I am looking forward to putting those changes into practice in Jerez."

Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea is third in the standings and remains on course for his highest finish in a World Superbike season.

The Northern Irishman has often been on the cusp of breaking into the top three in the past, only to be hampered by injury problems.

Rea has never raced at Jerez, but has completed several testing sessions at the track and he is eager to return to competitive racing.

He said: "I missed the Jerez race last year through injury but I was able to test afterwards and I first rode at the circuit in 2003. I really enjoy riding it and we've done a lot of testing there.

"I'm excited to be riding again because it's been an abnormally long summer break. I imagine there'll be a long queue of riders desperate to get out first for free practice on Friday."

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