Honda notched up its first top eight result of the 2019 World Superbike Championship season courtesy of a charging performance in wet conditions by its substitute rider Yuki Takahashi in Misano.

In the levelling conditions of Saturday’s sodden race one, the Moriwaki Althea Honda package proved more competitive with both Takahashi and Alessandro Delbianco on the privateer Althea Mie Fireblade making swift advances up the ranks.

While Delbianco ascended as high as sixth before slipping back, Takahashi – deputising for the injured Leon Camier - kept a forward momentum to cross the line in eighth position, marking the Japanese-Italian outfit’s best finish of the 2019 season.

Only the second top ten result of the year for Honda – a startling statistic in the context of its three entries across a fairly meagre 17-strong full-time grid – Takahashi was nonetheless pleased to deliver a strong finish in only his fourth WorldSBK start.

“It was a good race for us as we were able to fight for a top ten position,” the ex-MotoGP rider said. “Conditions were really tricky, and you had to ride as safely as possible but also fight as hard as possible!

“During the free practices we worked hard trying different settings in order to be as prepared as possible for this situation. The team did a very good job and I want to thank them for that. I’m very happy.”

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