The San Carlo Honda Gresini team hit 'rock bottom' at its home Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, when riders Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis finished at the back of the field.
Elias was riding well in the wet conditions and returned to the track in fifth after changing to his dry bike.
However, Elias was left 'disappointed and angry' as he struggled to get his rear tyre up to temperature and was left helpless as he slipped back to 14th position.
“I'm disappointed and angry because in racing you have to be ready to tackle any situation and today we weren't,” fumed Elias. “The most frustrating thing is that I was expecting the first six or seven laps in the wet to be the hard part for us today and we actually did a good job, so I was confident we could kick on for a top result in the dry.
“I came out on slick tyres right behind Valentino [who finished third] and Casey [who won], but it took me four laps to get the rear tyre up to temperature and even then we were losing three or four seconds a lap, which I cannot understand.
“It's a disaster and something clearly wasn't working right. We're going to analyse the data, find out what went wrong and make sure we're better prepared next time,” he declared.
The only rider to finish behind Elias was de Angelis. The San Marinese, who rode the best race of his rookie season to claim fourth at Mugello last year, was running twelfth when he changed bikes but crashed on his out lap, running straight at turn two and laying the bike down to avoid a collision with the air fence.
“I went back out pretty fast but went a little bit too hard into turn two and was heading straight for the air fence, so I had to jump off,” confirmed Alex, who rejoined after the incident. “It was a real shame because it has probably cost us a handful of points but the reality is that we didn't have a good set-up with the bike for the dry and I honestly don't think we'd have been capable of great things anyway today.”
Team manager Fausto Gresini found the outcome hard to bear.
“We've hit rock bottom this weekend, I'm so disappointed,” he said. “Toni was going well in the wet and then for him to be losing four seconds per lap in the dry means something has clearly gone badly wrong.
“Alex was also way off the pace today so all I can do is apologise on behalf of the team to our sponsors and to Honda. We know this bike is not ready to win races yet but we also know it is good enough to be fighting for results that would give us satisfaction and hope.
“I can't imagine us having a race as bad as this one again.”