Former 250, 500 and MotoGP star Shinya Nakano claimed a fourth place finish in only his second WSBK event, in Qatar race one on Saturday.
While team-mate Max Biaggi grabbed the Aprilia headlines with a double podium at Losail, rookie Nakano showed excellent potential by finishing one place behind the Roman in the first outing.
''I am satisfied,” said Nakano after race one. “It is only my second WSBK event and already I've got a good result. I got away well at the start and remained in the lead group for the first half of the race, then they broke away so I just concentrated on defending my fourth position. Checa finally overtook me during the last few turns, but he made a mistake and I was able to get the place back.”
The second race saw Nakano once again get a good start, only to lose ground after contact. A fight-back brought the Japanese up to sixth, but the position was snatched from him by Alstare Suzuki's Max Neukirchner right at the line.
Nevertheless, Nakano finished an improved 9.5sec behind race winner Ben Spies - compared with 12sec in race one - and was also two seconds closer to team-mate Biaggi.
''I got a good start again but after a few corners I made contact with another rider and lost ground,” explained Shinya, who had qualified in sixth. “I had to push very hard to recover. I managed to get up to sixth place, but I had lost touch with the leaders.
“Towards the end Neukirchner caught up with me and we had a duel right to the line, which he won by just a few centimeters. But it's been an excellent weekend, we have improved a lot since Phillip Island and Biaggi showed the potential of the RSV4.
“Now we go to Valencia, where I made my debut on the bike, although the bike has changed so much since then that I don't think I'll have much of an advantage.”
Nakano had finished 15th and 12th on his WSBK debut at Phillip Island.