After two difficult opening weekends with the Ten Kate Honda team, Max Neukirchner is hoping the return to a happy hunting ground in Valencia will deliver some much-needed better results.
Neukirchner has endured a dismal start to his tenure as a Honda rider, the German scoring just five points during the opening four races as he struggles to get fully comfortable on the CBR1000RR.
Following a mere 15th place finish last time out at Portimao, Neukirchner stayed on in Portugal to work on set-up, the former Suzuki racer hinting that he may have begun making a breakthrough.
“After the disappointing results at Portimao I actually felt OK and was looking forward to a full day's test on the Monday, but the rain stopped the work we wanted to do. We found something but didn't really have enough dry time to develop it any further.
“But it was in a completely different direction to what we had on the Sunday and I felt pretty comfortable with it and I was able to go faster on old tyres. We'll try some more at Valencia and then we have a test at Assen after the races.
Admitting to undergoing some 'long conversations' with the team in a bid to solve his issues, Neukirchner is confident his good record in Spain will prompt a better performance this weekend.
“I've had some long conversations with my team about how to find that basic balance for the bike. It has not been easy but I know how hard everyone is working to find it. I was on the podium last year at Valencia and I nearly won a race there in 2008, so I hope to be fighting at the front again this weekend.”