A series of accidents meant Suzuki endured a weekend to forget in Qatar, even if Max Neukirchner did salvage a sixth place result in the final race of the day.
After a good start to the event in free practice on Thursday, Suzuki's form quickly deteriorated as they chased a good set-up on the bike, while Neukirchner found his progress stunted by an accident before qualifying. The German would go onto suffer a heavy crash in warm-up too after colliding with Troy Corser.
Starting a lowly 19th on the grid, Neukirchner's hopes of making quick progress up the field ended on the third lap when he ran off the circuit. Going from bad to worse, he would promptly suffer his third accident of the weekend with a spectacular high-side due to 'trying too hard'.
“My day didn't start well because Troy (Corser) and I collided in the morning warm-up. It was on the brakes into turn one and I was lucky to escape without injury. In race one, I ran off the track twice because I missed my braking points and then crashed - probably because I was trying too hard.”
Battered and bruised, Neukirchner nonetheless made it back on the grid for the second race, where he proceeded to pick off his rivals gradually. Catching sixth place Shinya Nakano by the final lap, Neukirchner at least had the satisfaction of out-dragging his rival over the finish line to secure the position by 0.002secs.
Despite the result, which helps him stay a competitive third in the standings, Neukirchner admits he wants to draw a veil over this weekend and focus on Valencia.
“I think my result in race two was good. I know that I could not have got any higher and, after all my crashes this weekend, it was good to leave Qatar with good finish. It has been a tough weekend for us.
“We made some mistakes and my crashes gave the team a lot of extra work to do. I want to say a big thank you to my team for doing all the work so quickly, but also to Yukio's mechanics before they helped us a lot.
“We'll have to do better in practice, qualifying and Superpole in the future, so that we don't have to start so low down the grid. I'm going to forget about this weekend and look forward to better things in the next round in Valencia.”