If performances in the rain at Brno and Silverstone had suggested the worst of Jorge Lorenzo's performances in adverse conditions were behind him, Phillip Island once again presented an uncomfortable reality for the outgoing world champion.
Less sophisticated electronics and a lack of feel with Michelin's front tyre both played a role in Lorenzo's more-than-underwhelming run to twelfth in MotoGP Q2, as did the cold, wet conditions, which triggered painful memories of “the crashes, the injuries” of old.
Should a starting berth from the inside of the fourth row not be deemed problematic enough for a man of his talents, Lorenzo was consistently lapping more than six seconds slower per lap than pole sitter Marc Marquez, be it on intermediate or slick tyres.
“In the Q2 with intermediates it was a disaster and with the slicks even more a disaster, the feeling. It was the worst scenario here, ever. [There were] Very bad conditions, raining and raining, slicks, [and] wet tyres.
“So probably it was the worst moment to make one step forward in these conditions with slicks and patches of water. I tried but I never felt that the tyres were ready to push.
“So bad confidence, especially in the middle of the corner. They other riders push from the beginning, they have confidence from the beginning and they have the tyres ready from the beginning.
“Probably the bad experience in these conditions – the crashes, the injuries – stay too much in the head and now the circumstances are worse. The tyres are different to last year, much more difficult to warm up.
“The electronics are helping you less. And we had the worst conditions here in Phillip Island in the last ten years. It has been tough.”
Each time Lorenzo has visibly struggled during a race in 2016 he has been piercingly honest at his own failings. Saturday at Phillip Island was no different, as he detailed the reasons for not being able to sufficient heat Michelin's front tyre.
“The problem is to have the confidence, to push enough to warm up the tyres, knowing that there are some patches in the corners, knowing that it's very cold,” he explained.
“So as I don't push enough – much less than the other one – I was five or six seconds slower, I don't get the temperature into the tyre, so I don't get the good grip to really push and be able to be in the 1m 34s, 33s, 32s.
“So when you are six seconds slower than the other ones you don't risk to improve half a second and you stop. That's what I did today.”
Lorenzo maintained that he has made progress in wet conditions from those difficult moments at the end of June and in mid-July, when his title defence came undone under the Dutch and German murk.
Yet progress has stalled, meaning “we are not the slowest” but “not the fastest”, leaving the three-time premier class champion somewhere “in the middle” when the track is wet.
“Well, in Assen and the Sachsenring it was wet. Our setting was not good because we had too much weight on the rear, to create grip on the rear. The front was the problem.
“When we start changing the balance of the bike we improve the feeling on the front, like in Brno. Now in the wet we are not the slowest one. But we are not the fastest one. We are in the middle of the group more or less. It's not such a big disaster, like when it's slick and the track is not ready to push a lot.”
On hopes for Sunday's race, the 30-year old is under no illusions the Australian Grand Prix will be “very bad” should those cold, damp conditions witnessed in qualifying continue into race day.
“Well, it depends on the condition,” he explained. “If it rains we are OK, more or less in the middle of the classification. Not very far. One second or one and a half from the fastest one.
“If it feels like in the qualifying it's going to be tough, a tough race, to get the feeling and the confidence. [It would be] Really hard and very bad for me. But I'm going to try. If the weather improves we will be better.”