Fabien Foret's determined efforts to reach the finish of the opening round of the World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island were cruelly denied after falling victim to a late puncture.
The Frenchman came into race day as a favourite for victory having diced with the Kawasakis for the top spot during free practice and qualifying, but a heavy crash in warm-up left Foret with a finger and back injury that very nearly forced him to withdraw.
Nonetheless, Foret soldiered on to get himself amongst the lead group in the race, but having slipped back to seventh as his fitness waned, his Ten Kate Honda would stop altogether when it suffered a rear puncture.
A disappointing outcome to spoil a determined effort by the former champion, he will now undergo surgery on the finger to correct the cracked tendon.
“When I saw my fingers after the warm-up crash, I thought my weekend was over,” he said. “But I got patched up and thought I'd jump on the bike and get some points. Then my back was hurting so I went back to the medical centre and asked them to x-ray it and that's when they discovered the fracture. They said it was up to me whether I rode or not so I decided to try.
“I was pretty stiff on the bike and made some mistakes changing the way I rode, like braking with four fingers. I was OK for a while but started to get tired and I got some arm pump because of how I was riding.
“I felt the tyre dropping but I was surprised how fast it was going off and turned up the traction control to stop it spinning. I just tried to stay on the bike and finish the race. I'll have surgery on my finger because the tendon is cracked and I need a skin graft, too. The back just needs rest.”