Michel Fabrizio's hopes of challenging for a top five finish in the overall World Superbike Championship standings received a blow after an arm injury prevented him from scoring points at the Nurburgring.
Having qualified down in 12th position, the Suzuki Alstare rider looked to be making one of his customary progressions up the order, despite an incident on the opening lap when he was struck on the forearm by 'someone or something'.
However, while it didn't hamper him initially as he peaked in fifth place, the arm swelled over the second-half of the race, preventing Fabrizio from opening the throttle. Plummeting down the order, Fabrizio eventually crossed the line in 16th and out of the points.
“I am really not sure what happened in the first lap of race one,” the Italian said. “I was going through a left turn whilst keeping an eye on Sykes on my left when I suddenly felt an impact on my right arm, just above the wrist. I don't know if it was another rider or something that had flown up from the track. All I know is that it was a fairly hard blow.
“I carried on racing and managed to pass quite a few riders and get up to fifth place. I was pretty happy at this stage because I had started from twelfth on the grid, but soon I could feel the pain in my arm getting worse. I could feel it swelling up and, as the race wore on, that affected my throttle control. I just couldn't force the throttle wide open when I needed to and it wasn't long before riders began to pass me. I kept going as best I could, but it was frustrating seeing all the riders I had passed, overtake me. The pain got worse and worse, but I kept going in case I could get any points.
Going on to withdraw just three laps into the second race as he struggled with the pain and the awful conditions, though an x-ray would reveal no broken bones, Fabrizio fears he has damaged tendons in the arm.
“I had some painkillers (pills, not injections) before the start of race two, but I knew that it was not going to be a good day for me, when the rain began to pour. Soon there were big puddles everywhere and there were rivulets in many parts of the track. Even on the straights we were aquaplaning and it was pretty dangerous just trying to get round without crashing.
“My arm was feeling very painful and I wasn't in the points, so the team and I decided that there was no point continuing. I pulled into the pits, which was definitely the right decision. Watching the rest of the race from my pitbox, I am a bit surprised that thirteen laps were completed before the red flag came out, but I was happy to have survived without crashing.
“The weekend had started pretty well and Friday and Saturday had been good - apart from Superpole. My race pace was good and I was happy fifth after nine laps of race one. If it hadn't have been for the blow to my arm, I'm sure that I would've finished the first race in the top five. But racing is unpredictable this was just not my lucky day.”
Fabrizio remains seventh in the standings, but is now just two and seven points ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and Ayrton Badovini.