Maxime Berger picked up his first points in World Superbikes after an assured ride to thirteenth place in race two at Assen.
The Frenchmen had endured a difficult start to the season, epitomised at Donington two weeks ago when the rear wheel fell off his Ducati 1098R. Things seemed to be taking another turn for the worse in Sunday's first race when he was forced to retire on lap eleven.
“Unfortunately, the first race was ruined by a clutch problem”, he explained. “Immediately after the start I began to feel problems, but they seemed to have been resolved after some laps. Then, suddenly the clutch stopped working completely and I was forced to pit.”
The hard work of the Supersonic Racing Team paid off in race two though, as Berger got the better of Ruben Xaus, Ayrton Badovini and Roberto Rolfo to claim thirteenth, and three world championship points.
“Race two went much better, as I won my first points in World Superbike. After the problems at Donington and Phillip Island, I finally finished the race in a positive way. We decided to use a harder tyre than the one used in race one. Of course at first I struggled a little because I could not push as I wanted. As soon as I realized that the tyre had the right grip, I increased my pace finishing in thirteenth place. A good moral injection for me and my team and I thank them all for all work done here in Holland.”
Team manager Danilo Soncini added that this result could be the springboard for the team to achieve further points finishes in the future, starting in three weeks at Monza.
“The stop from Maxime in race one surprised us a lot. It’s a type of clutch, which usually works very well, but we could not risk anything for the second race so we used a Ducati clutch. Although they advised us to ride the soft rubber tyre in the second race, we started with a hard rubber, as the temperature was higher than in the morning. This has affected us in the early stages of the race, but finally the first World Championship points came for Maxime. Rider and team are continuing to grow and, with some luck, we believe we can do much better during the next race at Monza.”