Michael van der Mark felt his double podium haul at Phillip Island was the best possible start to his 2016 World Superbike campaign and admitted an unexpected stint at the front caused him to use up his front tyre.
Third in the season curtain raiser on Saturday, van der Mark assumed control of the seven-way fight for the lead on lap twelve of race two with a move on Jonathan Rea at turn one.
The Dutchman then attempted to distance himself from the chasing pack, but only used the best part of his front tyre, meaning he had little left in the tank when chasing Rea and Chaz Davies on the final lap.
A fall for the Welshman gifted van der Mark second, meaning he leaves Australia second in the championship, 14 points behind double winner Rea.
“The pace wasn't really high but it was good for me because I could save the front tyre,” explained van der Mark. “Later we saw Tom start strong and he was pushing a little bit but he made a mistake and this made the pace go a little bit faster.
“It wasn't the plan to lead the race but I had a good slipstream and I passed Jonathan. I tried to do my own pace at the front. I saw on the big screen at turn ten that the front group was so big. I tried to break the group, get the pace consistent and high and it worked quite well.
“I knew the last laps would be difficult for me. It ended up that Johnny and Chaz passed me but I could still hold on and I wasn't scared of them going away. Chaz made a couple of passes on Johnny and unfortunately the last one didn't work for him.
“I tried to stay as close as possible to Johnny in the last lap. He didn't make any mistake and I made a small one. Also, I already had too much of the tyre. To finish second is amazing. We had a really good weekend. The team did a fantastic job to improve the bike and I can't think of a better way to start the season.”
Of the grip available to him at the end of the race, the 23-year old added, “It was a little bit worse. Also we saved it in the beginning. When we went to the lead I tried to break to group so I ask a little bit more of the front. I still finished second with it.
“Pirelli did a great job to bring the new rear tyre because it was such a big improvement not only for me but for everybody. That's what we needed here around Phillip Island.”