In the end, there would be no dramatic reversal of fortunes. Championship leader Maverick Vi?ales could not hide his bafflement at a disastrous home grand prix, throughout which he struggled, and stated his weekend of struggles has created "a big drama in my head."

Without question, this was Vi?ales' most difficult round in MotoGP to date. From the first session, he struggled to set competitive times, while his disposition was one of frustration, of a man utterly bemused with the goings on around him.

On Sunday he rode even harder than races in Qatar and Argentina, he said, showings which earned him 25 points, and put him in a commanding championship position.

By the close of the race in Montmel?, an underwhelming tenth place limited the damage somewhat, as his title lead was slashed to seven points. It had been 26 after a mature ride to second place at Mugello.

While Vi?ales made no specific mention of the tyres, a swift reading between the lines when saying "the problem is not the bike" would show where the 22-year old was directing his blame.

"I really don't know," said Vi?ales, when asked what had happened. "This morning, with 15 lap tyres I did a 46.1. This afternoon, with new tyres, a 46.7, going to crash. I really don't know.

"I don't know what to say. I tell everyday the same, so I don't know. Our bike is good. That's what I can say. It was good in Qatar, Argentina it was good. All the races, our chassis, it's not this. The problem is not the bike.

"It's very difficult. You come with good motivation, you come to make first, second, on the top, to make fast laps. And then suddenly 10th. Well, I was 10th because crashed many riders, Aleix broke the engine and then Cal was also going to the back.

"Regularly I'd finish 16th. From first, leading, to 16th, now is a big drama for me, for myself, because I go home, I don't know what happened, I'm not really motivated and I have to do many races. Honestly, it's not only the result of today, it's the result of many races."

There can be no question; the current unpredictability in MotoGP is in part due to the tyres, and how different machines react to the rubber beneath them at different tracks.

Honda, for example, struggled badly at Mugello, while Yamaha had its own issues at Jerez. The topsy-turvy nature of events, said Vi?ales, is not good for a rider's state of mind.

"It's really hard now. I don't know what is happening and what's going on. For our bike, one race is OK, one race not. And another race OK, another race not. We started the season at a really good level, I felt nobody could stop me in the first two races. I was feeling like the best. And now I feel like 10th, 15th.

"I was pushing the same today than in Qatar - well in Qatar I pushed less, because it was tricky, the track. Argentina I was controlling it and today I was pushing 120%. Luckily I could recover at the end, but I was 15th and 16th, so I don't know.

"Honestly, for me it's a big drama in my head right now, because I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm doing the same as in Qatar, Argentina and the other races. I'm riding the same way."

Asked what his team was making of the current situation, Vi?ales added, "They also don't understand what happened today, and many places. They don't understand.

"That's why I couldn't understand in Argentina I did 39.7 in the warm-up, 39.6 in the race. Mugello I did 47.2 in the warm-up, 47.6 in the race. Here, I did a 46.1 in the warm-up and I did only one 46 in the race. One.

"It's something amazing. At the end, I was riding really like Moto2. I could not understand. Honestly, on the straight, it was amazing. I was feeling very bad on the straight."

By Neil Morrison

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