The numbers don’t lie: Jorge Lorenzo felt his performance at Phillip Island was the worst of a deeply troubled 2019 campaign, as he finished last and a colossal 66 seconds behind team-mate and race winner Marc Marquez.

“I struggled in every way,” conceded the 32-year old, who went on to make the barely believable admission occasional point scorers Karel Abraham and Hafizh Syahrin “had better pace than me all weekend.” In the end, he was 16th and 22 seconds back of the Malaysian.

The nature of the Phillip Island layout, plus the cold, blustery weather conditions were always going to make the five-time world champion’s life difficult. A lack of rear grip throughout the 27 laps and all-time low levels of confidence ensured this was a sobering experience.

“Well, I already expected before coming here that I would struggle a lot,” Lorenzo said. “Just you wish that things change, and that you are able to be fast, but that was not the case. From the first practice, I saw that I was too far from the fastest riders, and the wind and the cold made the situation worse.

“So I struggled in every way, physically, in terms of speed, and confidence. The result was the worst after the comeback in Assen, and this is the reality. I didn't have the pace. Syahrin had better pace than me all weekend, and Karel also.

“Plus from the first lap, from the warm up lap I felt the left side of the tyre with completely no grip, and even if I tried to pick up the bike or delay the full throttle opening as much as possible, the rear was spinning and spinning and spinning, and moving, I had no traction.

“Braking also was bad, a lot of vibration, so I wasn't fast in any part of the track. I hope and I guess, and I think that it is only this track, that is very bad for me in these conditions.

“The next one in Sepang, I will come back more or less in the level I arrived here, and I finished in Japan. Hopefully keeping the same level that I had in the last ten laps of Motegi. I think Malaysia in normal conditions will be better, but we have to see.”

Was this the most difficult track physically he has encountered since he came back from the two broken vertebrae suffered at the Dutch Grand Prix?

“Yes,” he said, “because of the wind, you have to have your head more inside the fairing, more forward, closer to the front wheel, to try to make sure the wind doesn't make the front wheel more unstable.

“I had to force my neck and the part where I am injured. And you have to grip the bike with more force in acceleration because of the wind. So I suffered a lot. But apart from the physical suffering, I never had a good feeling, or a safe feeling all weekend and especially in the race.”

Such performances inevitably lead to speculation and rumour. A report in Spanish sports daily El Mundo Deportivo on Sunday indicated the Majorcan had gone through an intense, frank exchange of views with members of his team on Wednesday.

The report concluded Lorenzo was seeking changes to the personnel of his team as a result of his recent wretched run. But he was keen to emphatically dismiss the report. “I read this story in Mundo Deportivo. I think [the author] has invented this.

“These articles are completely false. I don't want to change the team, and we didn't have any technical problems, apart from the lack of confidence and the lack of results we are suffering with.”