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Neukirchner struggles at Donington.

Max Neukirchner endured the toughest weekend of his World Superbike season after managing just one finish and two points at Donington Park.

The German is still in outside contention for the title, but he has dropped to third in the standings and now has a 105 point deficit to make up on Troy Bayliss with only six races in the season remaining.

A tough weekend all round for both Neukirchner and the Alstare Suzuki team, while the German sneaked into Superpole, he was only 14th quickest, while he would only last a handful of laps before falling in the first race.

Blaming the tumble on a dry weather set-up gamble, Neukirchner was very frustrated to see a good result go wanting in what turned out to be a race of attrition.

“Not all of the track was dry in the first race and I was a bit unlucky because I hit a puddle and high-sided and that was that. Our dry set-up was a gamble, because there had not been any dry track time in the past two days and we had to take a chance - like everybody else. But still, I was angry because I had crashed and could not continue.”

The second race saw more of the same problems as a heavy shower moments before the start of the race meant the team couldn't switch back to an effective wet weather setting. As such, Neukirchner could manage no better than 14th by the chequered flag.

“The conditions in race two were very difficult and the track was very, very slippery and I had no rear grip at all - just like Saturday and Friday!

“When the rain fell while we were on the grid, we had to put on wet tyres and soften the suspension, but it wasn't anyway near a good set-up and I struggled throughout the race. It has been a frustrating weekend for us all, so I hope the next round in Vallelunga will be better - and dry!”

Elsewhere, in the team, Yukio Kagayama and Fonsi Nieto starred in the first race as they kept their bikes pointing forward. Benefiting as others retired, the duo were classified fifth and seventh in the first race to save the team's blushes.

“This day was very difficult, just like the whole weekend! I am almost pleased with fifth position in the first race, but for me, fifth is not good enough! Because we had no dry rack time, we had to guess what dry settings to use and so the bike was not as good as it could've been. So I think that to finish fifth after qualifying 24th is maybe not so bad.”


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