Pata Honda's Michael van der Mark earned a superb podium finish on his World Supersport debut as the Dutch young gun turned heads with an eye-catching performance at Phillip Island.
Van der Mark guided the CBR600RR to third place behind Mahi Kawasaki's Kenan Sofuoglu and Sam Lowes on the Yakhnich Yamaha R6 in Australia to announce his arrival on the world stage in style.
The 20-year-old used his head to preserve his tyres and described his rostrum fillip as a 'fantastic feeling'.
“I had a good start, I think – I practiced some starts during qualifying, but I never had a start like that!” he said.
“I followed the pace of Kenan (Sofuoglu) and Sam (Lowes) and saw that I could stay with them quite easily.
“I also stayed positive with the throttle – opening really slow to take care of the tyre.
“At the end I saw that the guy in fourth place was not catching me, so I slowed down a little bit," added Van der Mark
“For me, third place is like a win in my first race, so I'm really happy. It's a fantastic feeling.”
Van der Mark also praised his team for finding a set-up that aided tyre preservation at Phillip Island, where the Supersport race was reduced in distance due to concerns over the effects of worn rubber on the newly-resurfaced circuit.
“Also thanks to my team because we found a set-up to save the tyre today,” he said.
“We changed a lot with the electronics and my riding style and at the end of the race the tyre was still working.”
His teammate, Lorenzo Zanetti, finished in eighth position on his debut in the class.