After finding big improvements from Friday and Saturday, Michael Van Der Mark secured back-to-back top six finishes during Sunday’s WorldSBK double-header at San Juan.

Van Der Mark, who claimed P5 in the ten lap Superpole race, was unable to challenge for the podium as race two went on, but the BMW rider was only eight seconds down on team-mate for next year and eventual race winner Scott Redding come the chequered flag.

Given some of the margins between BMW riders and race winners in the dry this year, that’s a big step-forward for the German manufacturer. 

"It’s been a good weekend. I must say on Friday we struggled a lot so I wasn’t really sure what we could do but we made a big improvement on Saturday morning," said the Dutch rider. 

"Race one was alright, but in the warm-up we tried to change the bike a little bit and the pace was again alright but not the feeling. 

"On Sunday, temperatures were quite low in the morning, so we went back to Saturday’s set-up and had a really good Superpole Race. It was quite fast, was a lot of fun and I was faster than Saturday so we left it all the same for race two."

Van Der Mark’s first year with BMW aboard the new M 1000 RR has been very up-and-down - the highlight being his wet Superpole race win in Portimao. 

And although consistent podiums are a stretch too far for the team at present, Van Der Mark believes ‘the reality’ of the situation is not that bad. 

Van Der Mark said: "There’s a lot of bikes and different riders doing a really good job and being really close. 

"For us, the first year with the M 1000 RR, to be able to fight with them I think is really positive. 

"Of course, as a rider you want to make steps and finish on the podium but sometimes you have to look at the reality. I think we’re not doing a really bad job."