Cold and damp Sachsenring conditions underlined a major chink in Jorge Lorenzo's armoury, with the reigning MotoGP champion left to salvage a single point from a miserable weekend.
Lorenzo kicked off the German round with a fast fall at the infamous Turn 11, then tumbled twice more qualifying - an unprecedented sight.
The Movistar Yamaha rider maintained progress had been made. But race rain put him back to square one as he struggled with the same lack of front-end confidence that taunted him at the previous Assen race.
15th in the middle stages, Lorenzo peaked at seventh on the drying track, only to lose all the places gained when a late (lap 24 of 30) pit stop was combined with a return on intermediate tyres.
The Spaniard, who took the chequered flag 1m 17.694s behind Honda winner and title leader Marc Marquez, is now focused on finding an urgent solution to his woes.
“I must do something, especially with the Michelin tyres in these conditions,” Lorenzo said. “With the Bridgestones when it was raining I could sometimes fight for the win, sometimes for fifth, but now with this bike and tyres I struggle much, much more.
“The [wet] warm-up was terrible and I was four seconds from the top. In the race I improved my speed, but when the track dried out I start losing the front feeling and I couldn't keep the pace.
“Also we made a mistake with the strategy. I came in very late, because after the mistakes of last year I decided to come in just when the team put 'in' on the board. And that's what I did. Also they put me on the intermediate tyre that finally we saw wasn't the best option.
“We weren't prepared enough to make the right decision at the right moment. So we have a lesson to learn for the future. Anyway, I wasn't competitive. That's it.”
Lorenzo revealed that he will try and use the upcoming summer break, following this week's Austria test, to work on improving his confidence away from the track.
“I will rest, recover and forget a little bit the races. But after four, five or six days I will come back training physically and maybe do something to improve for these conditions in the future.
“It's not easy for me, with my riding style, to get confidence quickly with these tyres. I have to do something, and let's see if it works.”
Lorenzo remains second in the world championship, but his torrid weekend means the gap to Marquez has doubled to 48 points.
“The championship is not finished until we don't have a mathematical chance to win it,” he said. “We saw today that Marc for example was very brave and very fast in all the conditions. He crashed this morning in the warm-up and he's been lucky not to get injured.
“Anything can happen. We saw other championships that the leader with a big advantage can lose, so you have to be positive and still believe that it's possible. But first we have to recover the confidence, and then we have to recover the good results.
“It has been three very bad races for us.”
Lorenzo has scored seven points from the past three rounds, including being taken out by Iannone in Catalunya, compared with 33 points for Rossi and 65 for Marquez
By Peter McLaren