Alex Lowes says he and his Pata Yamaha squad has more work to do with the development and set-up of the bike to take his charge to the front-runners after a tricky race weekend at Laguna Seca.
The British rider produced his joint-best result of the season with fifth place in race one at the iconic US circuit having bolted from 10th on the grid.
Looking to build upon the promising potential in race two, Lowes suffered a blow in Sunday warm-up when he had a heavy fall at turn six and landed awkwardly on his left shoulder.
Despite battling on, Lowes struggled to replicate his race one pace and circulated in eighth before crashing in a final corner tussle with stand-in team-mate Niccolo Canepa which dropped him to 14th place.
Lowes says he and the team expects to be fighting higher up the running order and admits significant gains still need to be found with the Yamaha R1 package.
"It was quite a frustrating race two as I felt again like I had a better pace but was struggling to pass to make the most of it,” Lowes said. “For the last ten laps especially I was really getting held up by van der Mark and had a couple of big moments trying to get into position to pass him.
“Niccolò passed me on the last lap and I had a go to get the position back at the last corner, like you should, but made a mistake and lost the front which was a shame.
“To be honest we need to be a lot higher than fighting for ninth, and both myself and the team need to put in some more work to get the best out of the weekend. We will try again after the summer break and come back fighting in Germany.
"It was a good solid race one, obviously there was a bit of pressure on after a disappointing qualifying from 10th, so overall I'm happy to be fifth.
"I felt like, with 10-15 laps to go, we could challenge for the podium but unfortunately I was struggling to pass and just couldn't find the right place.”
Pata Yamaha is planning to run a testing programme over the extended summer break – with action not resuming until the 16-18 September for round 10 at the Lausitzring – and will be keen to confirm improvements as it seeks a maiden World Superbike podium of the year.