Michel Fabrizio's hopes of maintaining his challenge for the 2009 World Superbike title were dealt a potentially fatal blow after he struggled for form at the Nurburgring.

Having hinted at a race win challenge with a front row starting position, Fabrizio's progress was hampered by technical problems in both races, the Italian managing just a seventh and ninth place finish on the Ducati Xerox.

With tyre woes from race one forcing him onto his second bike in race two, Fabrizio claims he was down on power with his spare machine.

"What can I say? The weekend didn't go to plan. In race one I had problems with rear grip and once that race was over my technicians discovered a problem with gearing which meant I had to go out with the second bike in race two.

"Unfortunately the engine of the second bike didn't perform as it should, as it seemed as I was missing acceleration coming out of the corners, meaning it was impossible to stick with the group ahead of me. It can only go better at Imola."

Fabrizio is now 75 points behind new championship leader Ben Spies, and 45 points ahead of fourth place Jonathan Rea.