Michael van der Mark has hailed his third place finish in race two at his home round in the same manner he would a maiden World Superbike victory after a testing race weekend at Assen.
After a couple of crashes during Friday's free practice sessions van der Mark placed his Honda Racing Fireblade on the middle of the second row in qualifying but while battling for the lead in race one on the penultimate lap he suffered a crash, much to the distraught of the home fans.
Looking to make up for it for his supporters in race two, van der Mark was faced with a tricky challenge in the wet-to-dry conditions and after pitting a lap later than the Kawasaki pair he comfortable became the best of the rest in third – matching his results from 12 months ago when he claimed memorable maiden rostrums.
“This third place feels like a win for me, especially after Saturday's result,” van der Mark said. “The support from the crowd was really amazing; I'm quite sure there were a lot more people here today compared to the past two years.
“As soon as we started the warm-up lap [for race two], I realised that, at some point, we would have to change tyres. We were ready for the pit-stop, as we are one of the few teams who always practice it at the end of every session.
“When Jonathan came past me I couldn't stay with him, but I wanted to wait one more lap before going into the pits. I came in the following lap and it proved to be a good choice. I rode the rest of the race basically on my own, as the guys at the front were just too far ahead. I want to thank the team for the amazing job they have done, my sponsors and all my fans.”
Bouncing back from his DNF in race one, van der Mark has strengthened his fourth spot in the World Superbike championship and holds a 23-point advantage over team-mate Nicky Hayden who notched up his maiden rostrum in the series with third place in race one.