Max Neukirchner was able to come away from this year's World Superbike event at Valencia in much higher spirits after securing a second podium finish of the season.

Neukirchner, who was denied victory in 2008 when he was taken out of the lead on the final corner by Carlos Checa, was looking to make amends this year, the German rider completing his first target of reaching the top eight shootout in Superpole by qualifying sixth on the grid.

The races went well too, Neukirchner running second for the majority of the first race before being bumped down to third by Michel Fabrizio in the closing stages, while he even led race two before suffering with tyre issues to drop to an eventual seventh.

Nonetheless, despite getting two good points finishes on the board to consolidate his third position in the standings, Neukirchner maintains that it was a hard weekend for the Suzuki Alstare Brux team.

"I think that generally this has been a hard weekend for us and the closeness of the lap times in qualifying didn't make it any easier. We tried many things to make the bike faster and although we improved it, I don't think it was enough. Race one was very good and I was happy to get a podium.

"We used the same bike in race two, with the same type of tyre as Haga and most of the other riders but the bike just didn't work as well as it had done in race one. I managed to lead for the first four laps, but then the grip level went down.

"Maybe part of the problem was that the track temperature was higher and that affected the characteristics of the bike, but whatever the problem is we have to find a way of adjusting the bike to compensate for it."

Team-mate Yukio Kagayama, meanwhile, ran in the same leading group as his team-mate in the first race before fading to sixth, but went off the circuit in race two when his bike had a false neutral.

Also complaining about the feeling of his bike, Kagayama decided not to continue in race two for fear of hurting his back further following an earlier crash in practice.

"The feeling of my bike in race one was not so good. I think this was because oil or other liquid from a rider in front of me had got onto my front brake discs and so the brake performance was reduced. So to get sixth is not so bad.

"We changed to a harder rear tyre in race two and the bike had a better feel and after five or so laps I was beginning to catch the front runners. Going into turn two, I got a false neutral and so the bike went straight on and into the gravel. The gravel was so deep that when the bike nearly came to a stop I could not prevent it from falling over. I picked the bike up and restarted but everybody had gone!

"I was last by a long way, but I decided to carry on riding in case I could collect any points. My back was beginning to hurt (because of Friday's crash) and when I realised I could not get anywhere near the points, I thought it would be better to pull in instead of risking any further injury."


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