Chris Vermeulen made the most of a strong start to record his best finish of the year so far with a 'boring' fifth place in Saturday's Dutch TT at Assen.

Vermeulen catapulted from seventh on the grid to fourth at turn one, lost a position when he was overtaken by Jorge Lorenzo, then regained it when Dani Pedrosa crashed out on lap five.

By lap six Pedrosa's Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards had found a way past Vermeulen, but Dovizioso later repeated Pedrosa's turn one error to hand the Australian fifth place.

Vermeulen spent the second half of the race with around five seconds of track between Edwards in front and the heated fight for sixth behind.

"I'm obviously happy because this is my best result of the year and we have shown that we have made a step with the bike after the Barcelona test - especially on the chassis side of things," said Chris.

"At this track - and the next couple that we are going to - it is not so important on the motor front, so the slight speed disadvantage that we have is not so bad and we can still be competitive.

"I got a good start to the race and got in with the front guys early on. I tried as hard as I could to stay with them, but didn't quite have the lap-times to hang in there. I kept pushing all race and when Colin came past I tried to hang on to him, but he seemed to have a bit more rear grip than me.

"Most of the race after that was pretty boring as I was on my own," he admitted. "I'm happy with fifth and it gives us some valuable points in the championship and a good result to take forward into Laguna Seca."

"It is nice for the team to have been in the top-five at the last three GPs," said Suzuki team manager Paul Denning. "It is also great for Chris to find a good improvement here at Assen that will give him a step forward in confidence as we head to three of his favourite tracks. He rode a strong race today and it's a good platform to build on."

Team-mate Loris Capirossi was credited with ninth after being forced off track at the final chicane by Toni Elias, who was penalised.