Michael Rutter's hopes of delivering on the promise of a podium in the latest round of the ViSK.com British Superbike Championship at Knockhill came to nothing after positing a sole 11th place finish.

Returning to the scene of one of his best results last season, Rutter marked his intentions with a run to the front row on the Worx Crescent Suzuki in qualifying, but he struggled with rear grip problems in the opening race.

It meant that while he as able to run fifth for much of the race, a late safety car period left him vulnerable to attack from behind, dropping him to an eventual 11th position at the finish line.

"In that first race we started okay, I held position in the opening laps but by lap six I could feel the rear tyre performance dropping off badly. Despite being the same tyre we used in practice and qualifying, come the race we weren't getting the same grip.

"For a while I was able to hold on to sixth, but when the safety car came out everyone closed on to me. So when we got the green light again I just couldn't go and that was the end of it."

A different tyre choice appeared to improve Rutter's fortunes in race two as he held down fifth place again, but an error at the hairpin on lap twenty saw him run wide and run off the circuit, leaving him no choice but to retire.

"It's been a tough day, I'm very disappointed. Through the lead up to the racing we've shown what's possible, we were front row again, and podiums are clearly there for the taking - there's absolutely nothing wrong with this bike and team.

"We went for a harder tyre for the second race and that worked well. We were secure in fifth when on the 20th lap, on the run to the hairpin I ran in too deep. The rear came up so I couldn't turn, I let the brake off to regain control, but that put me wide and off the circuit. Game over.

"I've got to thank the team for these past three rounds. They've worked so hard to give me everything they can. And we've got a couple of half decent finishes along the way, but the results they need and I want just haven't come. I can put so much down to bad luck but the rest... It's racing. If it was easy everyone would do it."

Jack Valentine echoed Rutter's frustrations, the Crescent team manager vowing to find a way of improving their fortunes for the upcoming rounds.

"There's not much I can add to what Michael's already said. We're disappointed, we can't deny that. But also we all feel for Michael. Two front row qualifying performances from three is evidence of his speed. Even today there were times we could feel hopeful. But the results just haven't come.

"So, we have to face it, we're in a position again where we need to find a solution to get us back to the sharp end of the racing."


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