MAX Whitlock served another warning to his rivals that he is back on track towards global domination with a pair of commanding performances at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha.

The Basildon-based Whitlock improved on his qualifying scores on both floor and pommel during the men’s team final, as he continues his build-up towards the defence of his individual world pommel crown on Friday.

The Great Britain team of Whitlock, Dominick Cunningham, James Hall, Joe Fraser and the Thundersley-based Brinn Bevan finished fifth in the team standings, with China pipping Russia to the gold medal by less than 0.1 of a point.

After an inconsistent year in which he failed to win either Commonwealth Games or European titles, Whitlock has looked back to his best in Doha and his latest pommel score of 15.233 sent him further clear of his prospective rivals.

Whitlock said: “I’ve proved a lot to myself this week that what I’ve been doing is the right thing, even if it’s meant taking the risks now in order to look at the bigger picture.

“It isn’t easy going from one competition to another making mistakes, but I’ve said I want to replicate the cycle from London to Rio, and now I’m in the position where I can start to consolidate.”

Despite having won a silver medal in the last world team competition in Glasgow in 2015, Great Britain started with only an outside hope of muscling in on the top three of China, Russia and Japan.

A series of improved scores on rings and vault were negated by some mistakes on the parallel bars, and when Bevan, who along with Hall has already qualified for the all-around final, fell from the high bar, that slim chance was extinguished.

Whitlock emerged to upgrade his floor score to 14.4, which would have been enough to comfortably qualify him for the individual final had he produced the same routine in Friday’s qualifying session.

“Overall as a team fifth place might look a bit negative but I think it’s quite positive,” added Whitlock.

“It was unbelievable to come second in 2015 and we’ve proved we can still push along with those guys.

“Fifth in the world isn’t so bad and we made a number of small errors so there’s easily a number of marks we can find for next time.

“There’s a lot to work on and a lot we can take from it.”

Cunningham, who will contest the individual vault final on Saturday on his World Championships debut, also improved on his qualifying scores in both floor and vault.

Cunningham said: “It’s different in the team competition because you’re all in it together and you know that if you make one mistake then it’s going to cost everyone else. But I’m over the moon with things.”