Broc Parkes was delighted to post his first top ten finish of the World Superbike season after a much more convincing weekend for the Paul Bird Kawasaki team in Valencia.
Making the most of a recent test session at the Spanish circuit, Parkes shrugged off an early accident to prove competitive throughout the weekend, reaching the second phase of Superpole and putting the ZX-10R 13th on the grid.
Making a great start in race one, Parkes put himself in the midst of the lead battle as he ran as high as fifth position. Showing better consistency than he did in Australia and Qatar, Parkes maintained a good pace for much of the race before eventually fading to tenth position.
Although grip woes meant he couldn't repeat that feat in race two, Parkes was delighted to be making some obvious progress on the bike.
"I had a pretty big crash on Friday but thankfully I wasn't hurt. On Saturday, the bike performed well during qualifying and I felt we'd made some big steps forward since Phillip Island and Qatar. I am also feeling a lot more comfortable on the bike and I'm finding it easier to ride over a distance which showed in race one.
“I got a good start and was really happy to be in fifth position at one stage and to battle with the front guys. The bike felt the best it has been all year and it was awesome for the team and I to get in the top ten.
“Race two was a different story however and I struggled with front grip from the start making it impossible for me to move up any places as there wasn't much I could do. Overall the weekend was a success and I'm really looking forward to Assen."
The weekend also signalled a return to the points for Makoto Tamada, who defied a broken toe to cross the line 14th in race one, from 24th on the grid.
"I have recovered quite well from my big crash in Qatar but I still have some pain in my left broken big toe,” Tamada, who hadn't scored in 18 consecutive races, said. “I was sorry to miss the test last week here in Valencia as this put me behind with set up. Starting from sixth row on the grid was difficult to get a good start but I was happy to get some points in race one despite some problems with braking and traction.
“I was disappointed in race two to not finish as we made some changes to suspension and the settings felt much better for me. But after six or seven laps, I started to experience some gear selection problems. I tried to keep riding but unfortunately I had to pull out of the race."