Leon Camier says an erroneous tyre choice during the first race was to blame for his failure to live up to lofty pre-race expectations at Phillip Island.
The Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider came into the weekend having emerged as one of the revelations of pre-season testing, prompting suggestions that he could challenge for the podium in Australia.
However, Camier's progress in race one would be hampered by a poor start that dropped him from seventh to 13th, before excessive tyre wear prevented him from climbing higher than ninth by the chequered flag.
Faring worse in race two, Camier was caught up in the first lap carnage that eliminated Chaz Davies and Loris Baz, the former British Superbike Champion forced to fight back up to another ninth place at the finish.
“The first race was really difficult and the bike just didn't feel like anything we'd been working on over the weekend. We really struggled and we made the wrong tyre choice - by the end of the race the tyre was destroyed! This was very strange because all weekend we'd done race runs on the tyres and it hadn't shown wear like that.
“I'd put in good laps on used tyres in the test and during practice, so we were confident that it would work, but whatever the reason is, it didn't! I got a better start in race two and tried to make some places up early on, but as I tried to go round the outside coming into a corner there was a big crash in front of me and I got taken out and on to the grass – so that was really the end of the race for me!
“The rest of the time was just spent catching up and racing with some other guys. I had to try and do what I could and I could see Jules and Johnny Rea coming back to me really quickly so I kept pushing, but just couldn't get up to them. It's frustrating because I felt that in the second race we had the package to challenge the front pack.”
Even so, despite the disappointing results on paper, team manager Paul Denning was pleased to see an improvement in overall pace relative to last year's Phillip Island race
“We will leave Australia after these two weeks in Phillip Island with a positive outlook because, irrespective of two quite disappointing results for Leon caused by the wrong tyre choice in race one and being knocked off the track in race two, we've still shown great potential and it's clear that the bike is at a different level than it was 12-months ago.
“The whole team and both the riders have been superbly positive, despite a few issues - including five absolutely massive crashes in total! The guys have worked incredibly hard to be in good shape come race-day.”