Jonathan Rea continued to establish himself as Ten Kate Honda's leading representative in his first World Superbike Championship season after scoring a much needed top five result at Assen.
Arriving at the team's home event with renewed confidence after the arrival of several new developments, Rea was pleased with his ultimate race pace, even if the combination of a mid-field grid slot and poor starts prevented him from ever getting closer to the front.
Nonetheless, Rea gave an aggressive performance in race one, dropping as low as 14th before climbing his way into what was the battle for fifth position. Although he would drop to seventh by the chequered flag, it was – at the time - his best result since finishing fifth at the Australian season opener.
A better start in race two allowed him to battle with team-mate Carlos Checa and Yamaha's Tom Sykes for the honour of fifth, but by the time he had seen off their challenge, fourth place was too far up the road for him to make an impression.
“We came here with a good setting and had a couple of unrelated issues in qualifying, which led to a difficult starting position, but the bike is really going in a direction now that I'm happy with.
“I got a really bad start in race one, which was followed by a bit of arm pump. That was much better in race two and I really started to enjoy riding the bike again. Unfortunately, by the time I got some clear track in front of me, the leading four had gone. “
Even so, Rea is up to ninth in the overall standings, 13 points ahead of Checa, and is in a good frame of mind with Monza coming up.
“The results are better than in Valencia and, to be honest, they had to be,” he said. “It's no secret that we've had some problems, but we've done a lot of thinking in the last three weeks and I really want to thank everyone in the team who dug deep to find some solutions.
“But I'm really pumped for Monza – I feel like I've got a really good working relationship with the team now and we're definitely going in the right direction.”