An exasperated Marco Melandri believes red flags cost him a potentially pivotal double World Superbike Championship victory at the Nurburgring, the title contender having to settle for a second and third instead.
Starting from the front row, Melandri was in contention for victory in both races, holding firm behind Tom Sykes in the first encounter before making his pass for the lead at the start of the penultimate lap.
However, his hopes of sprinting to the chequered flag were undone by a red flag that forced the race to be stopped and the result declared to the end of lap 18 – moments before Melandri overtook Sykes.
Frustrated at being forced to settle for second, the curse would strike again in race two when another oil spill brought on by a crash further down the field saw the red flag thrown just as Melandri was sizing up Chaz Davies and Eugene Laverty ahead of him with two laps to go.
Securing a third place finish, though the brace of podiums help Melandri in his quest to stay in title contention, he was disgruntled at the way he was prevented from doing better.
"I've never seen a red flag at the end of both races in my life,” he lamented. “It was a shame because in race one I was leading and race two I was third but I am sure that it would have been a great final lap because all three of us were trying to win and everyone was pushing hard.
“The red flag was not on my side today and as a consequence I had no chance to make use of the opportunities we had and this is frustrating, but these are the rules. I am so sorry for the guys that crashed and got injured because they had much more bad luck than me. All the best and a speedy recovery to all of them!
“For sure I can be happy because we have shown that we are strong but at the same time I am disappointed because I did not get as many points as I could have. The championship is still very open and I have reduced the gap to the front.
“So in general it was a good weekend for us and we are looking forward to the next rounds. Now we are going to tracks that I really like and I am sure that today's disappointment will only give me even more motivation."
Melandri remains third in the overall standings, 30 points behind series leader Sykes.