Peter Hickman endured a tough two races at Assen in the Netherlands in round 10 of the 2019 British Superbike championship - where he rode to a brace of eighth places.
Qualifying didn’t go as well as he hoped and Hickman just missed out on a place in the final sector to fight for a top-three row start.
He ended up in 11th place and made a start to the first race from the fourth row.
He said: “it has been a tough weekend at Assen so far. We didn’t quite get the bike in the sweet spot for practice.
“But Smiths Racing are working really hard, improvements in qualifying and we will push hard to get results in the racing tomorrow.”
As the first race got underway on Sunday the Willoughby rider made up four places on the opening lap to take up seventh. He moved up to sixth on lap seven and to fifth on lap nine but was pushed back to eighth on lap 11 where he remained to the chequered flag.
He said: “I learned a lot in that race and now understand where we are losing out more.
“It is only in a couple of areas where we lose a big chunk which makes the lap time a lot slower.
“We are nearly there but I was shoved out onto the green on the last corner on lap 11 and lost three places, I was as fast as them but didn’t have enough to get back past them.”
Hickman had a better starting position for the second race and began his assault from the third row.
But he was unable to make much headway and was running in seventh place through the first half of the race before losing a place to eighth.
He maintained the position to the chequered flag to pick up a further eight championship points and has managed to bring the gap between himself and Tarran Mackenzie down to 10 points.
Although still sixth in the rider standings, he could easily improve this at Donington Park in the penultimate round of the championship on October 4-6.
He said: “Two eighth place finishes isn’t ideal and not what we wanted or what we were expecting, but it’s been a bit of a strange weekend to be fair.
“We thought we’d be strong this weekend but with some new parts and new things to try, it’s proven to be more difficult than we expected.
“The new parts we had will benefit us in the long term but, perhaps, compromised us this weekend, but we did move forward as the weekend progressed so that was positive.
“I think I was something like the third fastest rider on track in race two but the progress came a little bit too late in the weekend and when the grip levels dropped, I was losing a couple of 10ths each lap which was just enough for me to drop back slightly.
“It is what it is and we’ve learnt a lot so will look to make a greater impression at Donington in two weeks’ time.”