Richie Dibben may have found the key to compete on level terms at the ASBK Australian Superbike Championships as he grapples with a new suspension set-up on his Suzuki GSXR600.
The Barracks Bar/Total Span-sponsored Whanganui racer had a sixth and fifth in his two races of Round 6 of the Motorsports TV Supersport (600cc) class on the wide open spaces of Phillip Island near Melbourne on Sunday.
Dibben is using the Australian series as practice for the upcoming Suzuki Series and national championships on home turf later this year and early 2020.
The 30-year-old debuted in Round 5 of the Australian series in Winton, Victoria last month finishing fourth behind the series leaders and headed into last weekend's round confident he could improve.
"Guys over there had been telling us we may have got our suspension set-up wrong for Phillip Island, so we changed it quite a bit," Dibben said.
"It definitely felt better, but took a while getting used to it. I also had some ****ty starts which didn't help. But, hey, to come away with a top-five finish against those guys is not too bad."
The Phillip Island round was the penultimate round where series leader Tom Toparis was given the title after race one on Sunday.
Toparis, who has been racing in supersport series on three continents this season, including Europe, had posted an unassailable lead and his all the way win in race one delivered the national title to his Yamaha factory team.
Dibben, one of the few privately-sponsored riders, had qualified eighth and all bikes ahead of him on the grid were Yamahas.
"It was a pretty strong field all right, but now we appear to have this suspension right we are keen to take on the final round in Sydney next month. The Sydney track is also a wide open, fast track, so should suit us," Dibben said.