Ben Spies says he is happy to be within striking distance of the World Superbike Championship lead following his two wins at Donington Park, even if he admits he can't help but think about the potential advantage he'd have had were it not for his earlier problems.
Spies slashed Noriyuki Haga's lead in the overall standings to 14 points following his dominant double around the Derbyshire circuit, the American being aided by a spectacular accident for his rival.
Throwing the title race wide open once again, Spies is the closest he has been to Haga since the end of the second event at Qatar, a fact that hasn't been lost on him.
Even so, he is aware that the championship could have a substantially different look to it were it not for his four retirements and other delays, such as those at Monza and Misano.
“The title is possible again now,” he said. “It is very unfortunate for Nori, because that was a bad crash. We have to capitalise when things go wrong, because we've had our fair share of bad luck too. It is good that we are within striking distance, but if it wasn't for the problems we've had then we'd be having a really great year.
“I can smell the lead and it is possible that after one weekend we could be leading, so we just have to keep doing what we've been doing, but without the mistakes.”
With Spies now potentially just one race from snatching the title lead for the first time this season, he admits it takes some of the pressure off him now.
“How I rode the first race is how I like to ride,” he added. “We didn't go over the limit and we were riding hard the whole time. It means that when there is a day that Nori is untouchable, I don't have to get a great result.”
Sadly for the title fight, it seems Spies may not be challenged from taking Haga's advantage following the Ducati rider's violent accident during the second race. Taken to hospital with a suspected fractured vertebra, Spies revealed deep concern for his rival and friend.
“We were supposed to have a barbecue this weekend, but it doesn't sound like he is doing too good right now. I gave Davide Tardozzi [Haga's team manager] my number and told him to call me. I just want to know he is fine. I saw the replay and it was a bad one – hopefully he will be at Brno.”