Cal Crutchlow's Laguna Seca race debut proved to be a brief one, when the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider crashed out of eleventh place on lap 4 of 32.
The MotoGP rookie looked poised to put a disappointing run behind him when he out-qualified team-mate and local star Colin Edwards to start tenth on the grid.
Crutchlow was then shadowing Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista when he lost the front-end of his M1 at Turn 2. It means the Englishman has scored just four points in the last four races, since his comeback from a broken collarbone at Silverstone.
“I lost the front at the second corner and it was a similar problem to what we've been experiencing in recent races," explained Crutchlow. "It was fine this morning in cooler conditions but as soon as the track temperature goes up, I have a few problems. Strangely it was only at that corner.
"It is a shame because I think we had a good pace. Bautista wasn't getting away from me and he quickly got up to Valentino and Nicky, so I think I could have gone with him and been in that battle.
"I'm disappointed I didn't finish the race and it is not good for the Championship but I wasn't the only one to crash today and it shows all of us are pushing on the limit. We have still learned quite a bit this weekend and the bike certainly felt better than it did in the last few races.
"Now we go to some tracks that I know and I'm looking forward to it because it has been a tough run and I need to recover the form I was showing in the beginning of the season."
Team manager Herve Poncharal emphasised that Crutchlow needs to build experience and knowledge by finishing races.
"We had a very big disappointment for Cal. He got a reasonable start and his lap times were very good in the first few laps but he crashed early and that is a big pity," said Poncharal.
"This is Cal's rookie year where he needs to be gaining lots of experience and learning a lot, so to crash so early is very disappointing because we lost a lot of points in the championship.
"But he also lost a lot of potential data that would have been very useful for next year. I would have liked him to finish the race and go into the summer break with a more positive feeling."
Crutchlow, who scored 30 of his 34 points in the first five rounds, is now 15th in the championship and 12 points behind fellow rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion AB).