Suzuki Alstare Brux's season took a turn for the worse in the latest round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen after race incidents took their toll on Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama.
Although sixth and ninth on the grid gave the two riders confidence of a good result, a best of ninth place for Neukirchner in the second race was all they could manage between them.
The result could have been different for Neukirchner after a good start hauled him up to second position in the early stages and onto the tail of leader Ben Spies. However, on lap seven, the German lost the front-end of the GSX-R1000 at the final corner chicane and came tumbling down.
Although the bike end up in the barriers, remarkably, Neukirchner got going again, dropping to the back of the field but working his way up to an eventual 13th at the finish line and three points.
"Race one was good until the crash of course! The chassis was not quite 100 per cent perfect, but I really wanted to get a good result so I was pushing quite hard. I lost the front in the chicane before the start-finish straight and although I got back on the bike and started again, I was down in 22nd place. I decided to keep going and fight for some points and I managed to end up 13th and get a few points, so I think the effort was worth it.
Race two proved to be less eventful for Neukirchner, but while he ran second again in the early stages, a problem with the set-up on his machine saw him drop back to ninth at the finish, much to his disappointment.
“We used the same bike and the same type of tyres for the second race, but the bike didn't work as well. It was harder to ride and more difficult to brake late. It was also not so easy in the turns and so I found it a bit frustrating, but I am only five points behind Fabrizio in the standings, so I know that I can improve a lot."
Team-mate Yukio Kagayama didn't fare much better, the Japanese rider falling in the first race before also struggling with the behaviour of his bike in the second on the way to 12th.
"I am not sure why I crashed in race one because it seemed to be a bit of a strange crash. Normally you lose the front end - on the brakes - going into turns, but this time I was exiting the turn and just getting on the gas when the front just suddenly went without any warning. I wasn't hurt, but I was a bit angry.
"In race two, I used the same bike and same tyres, but found it hard getting the bike to stop. It's possible that there was a small problem with the clutch, but we will not know for sure until we get back to the workshops and look inside the engine after seeing all the data. I kept going and had the chance to pass Xaus on the last corner but there were yellow flags out, so I could not make my move. I am hoping for better things in Monza because I need some good results."