Michael van der Mark made a seamless transition to World Superbikes in his race debut at Phillip Island on the Pata Honda, finishing fifth in race one before leading race two until a crash put a dampener on the young Dutchman's weekend.

The World Supersport champion qualified in fourth place on row two and was running with the leading group in the early stages of the opener before dropping back to finish fifth, four seconds ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes.

Van der Mark made a hard move on 2013 champion Sykes into Doohan Corner as they battled for fourth, with the Kawasaki rider forced out wide and slipping back to 10th place as a result before battling back.

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It was clear the Pata Honda prospect was unfazed by the level of competition he faced on his WSBK bow and in race two the 22-year-old incredibly took the lead on the Fireblade at the start of lap eight, holding station at the front until tyre wear saw him fall back into the clutches of the chasing pack.

He crashed out of fourth place with three laps remaining at MG but the series rookie has already shown enough to suggest he could be a regular podium contender this year.

"I had a good feeling for the races but we were a bit unlucky that the weather was not as hot as yesterday," said Van der Mark.

"I had quite a good start to the first race and was aggressive in the first couple of laps, but I couldn't stay with the front guys. I had a big drop in the tyre as well, so I had to focus on the guy behind me and save some tyre to bring it back in fifth.

"We made a couple of small electronics changes for the second race but I was hoping for a bit more hot weather," he added.

"The start wasn't really great but I was really aggressive and could stay with the front guys this time. I even led the race for a few laps, which felt really good before I had another big, big drop in the tyre. I tried to follow the guys but just pushed a bit too hard and lost it.

"But my guys did an amazing job this weekend and to be fifth in my first Superbike race was incredible," said Van der Mark. "To be leading in my second Superbike race was just too good to be true."