Max Neukirchner made a welcome return to the winner's rostrum in this weekend's IDM German Superbike championship, round 7 at Assen in the Netherlands.
Riding a Honda CBR1000RR prepared by Ten Kate Racing Products - the customer racing division of the World Superbike championship's Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team - the German ace won the first IDM race and followed it up with an impressive third in race two.
Neukirchner had qualified in third position on Saturday, just two tenths of a second behind pole man and local rider, Barry Veneman. In the Assen opener, he passed Veneman within three laps and, after consistently fast lap times, had extended his lead to a comfortable margin at the flag.
Race two was initially delayed and then red flagged early as rain fell on the Dutch circuit. However, with the track drying quickly, the field was back out for ten dry laps with Neukirchner finishing in third plac e.
Max Neukirchner says: "The first race was brilliant and I felt so happy to be back on the podium - especially on the top step. Qualifying on Saturday was quite difficult because the Dunlop qualifiers behaved a little differently to the Pirellis that I am more accustomed to. However, the front row was OK and we knew that our race pace was very strong. In race one I was able to pass Veneman quite early and just kept pushing throughout the race."
"In the end it was a comfortable victory. It felt fantastic to beat the other guys who have been racing with their teams and against each other all season. Race two was a little chaotic but third place and another podium was good for me. The weekend was a great personal motivation for my home race in Germany in two weeks, and we have another test at Assen before we go. I hope we can continue the good progress we made at Silverstone in the last SBK race and I'm sure t hat we can start at Nurburgring with a good feeling."
Rutger Belt (technical co-ordinator) says: "It's been a great weekend for Max, for Ten Kate Racing Products and for us as a team. We knew it would be tough, especially against these regular IDM guys who have had all season together on their bikes. However, Max and his crew worked hard all weekend and, after qualifying in third place on Saturday, we knew his race pace was looking good. It's also been a great exhibition of Ten Kate Racing Products in action and the weekend gave us the opportunity to try a few new things which we can now offer our customers with quite an endorsement!"
Race one Results: 1. Max Neukirchner (GER Ten Kate Racing Products Honda), 2. Barry Veneman (NED BMW), 3. Martin Bauer (AUT KTM), 4. Karl Muggeridge (AUS Honda), 5. Werner Daemen (BEL BMW), 6.Jorg Teuchert (GER Yamaha).
Race two results: 1. Veneman (NED BMW), 2. Smrz (CZE), 3. Neukirch ner (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda), 4. Muggeridge (AUS Honda), 5. Bauer (AUT KTM), 6. Daemen (BEL BMW).