Like in the previous two races of the weekend, Vierge was an early contender in Race 2 as he fought the likes of Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea, something a Honda rider has struggled to do for many years in WorldSBK.

And after holding off Rea and Axel Bassani before pulling clear during the mid-race point, Vierge looked poised to challenge Razgatlioglu for P3.

However, the 2021 WorldSBK champion extended the gap late on as a best of P4 - a result Vierge has already achieved in WorldSBK - appeared to be coming his way once more.

That was until a mistake on the final lap by Michael Ruben Rinaldi, which gifted third spot to the Spaniard.

"I’m the happiest man on earth right now,” said Vierge in parc ferme. “Race-by-race we are getting better and let’s work harder to stay like this weekend. 

"We fought so hard for this since the first day that I jumped on the bike. It has not been easy. Sometimes we get close but we always miss some details. 

"After a really difficult start this season the team gave me the support to stay calm. We prepared a plan to make many laps with a stable pace and this gave me the chance to have the confidence back. 

"Lap-by-lap I got the speed and and since the beginning we had quite a good pace to fight for that position but we struggled a lot in the qualifying." 

Vierge struggled during the season-opener in Phillip Island last weekend, as Honda’s big overhaul in terms of upgrades seemingly did little to close the gap from Ducati in particular.

But as shown in Mandalika, when on form and having a bike underneath him that’s working at its best, Vierge can’t be taken lightly. 

Speaking about the big difference in performance from one track to another and why that is, Vierge added: "It’s difficult because our bike from here to Australia is the same. In Australia I had so many problems because the tyres are so hard and we are not able to ride like I want. 

"But here, with the softer, I am able to ride much better so it’s difficult to say. Looks like we made a step forward this year and the reality is that we are getting closer."

Vierge also spoke about Rinaldi’s mistake which was crucial in allowing the former Moto2 rider to claim his first Superbike podium.

A challenging circuit at the best of times due to the heat and subsequent lack of grip, the Team HRC rider said: "Everybody arrives at the last laps with the tyres on the limit and in the last three laps I lost the front. I think he ran wide at turn ten so I took that advantage."