While Fabio Quartararo extended his title lead with a podium finish at the Sachsenring, Monster Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales suffered his worst result in MotoGP.

Fastest in the Catalunya test and then third during Friday practice in Germany, the Spaniard first hit obvious trouble when a late fall in FP3 caused him to miss direct access to Qualifying 2.

Twelfth in final practice was a worrying sign in terms of race pace, while the downward spiral accelerated with 21st on the grid in Qualifying 1. Vinales' last remaining race hopes were then effectively dashed when he failed to make any progress on the opening lap.

Finding it 'impossible' to pass and having suffered an early scare due to a lack of rear grip, the race turned into a 'data-gathering' exercise for the Qatar winner, who finished 19th and last.

Afterwards, his frustration at the lack of 'answers' for his ongoing woes was clear.

"I don‘t really know what happened with the bike at the beginning. I had a highside going into the corner. I looked to see if the tyre was flat or not, because I didn‘t understand what happened," he said. "But then I did two or three good laps, 22-highs and 23-lows on my dashboard. After that I got stuck behind the Ducatis,

"I was behind Marini and Bastianini. I could not pass them. Impossible. I prepared what I could but they had more power, they braked later. I’m sorry but that’s how it was.

"I spent ten laps there and I decided to go back, get fresh air and collect data to see how the bike is working alone.

"I could make '22 low by the end of the race, which is not bad, while behind them it was '25: a big difference! But, overall, I don’t know. Nobody here has the answer.

"It is very difficult to say what will happen. Next we go to Assen, where I can be fast on a Moto2 bike [even] so we will try to have the answer.

"Right now my job is to collect data. It is sad, but it’s like this. I cannot do much more. I’m sorry."

Vinales wasn't the only Yamaha rider having a miserable race with Franco Morbidelli finishing just a fraction ahead of him on last year's A-Spec M1. The Italian also felt it had been 'impossible' to overtake.

"This morning we tried something to make the bike have a bit more performance in braking, but in the race I still couldn't outbrake anybody because we reached the corners too far behind our opponents. So it's impossible to overtake," said the Petronas rider. "I just had to watch and then finally finish the race. I know it sucks but it’s the situation right now and it is what it is.

"I also saw Maverick struggling quite a lot to overtake," Morbidelli added, when asked about his fellow Yamaha rider. "He had some more speed than me in the straight so he had a little bit more chance to overtake, but it’s hard anyway. You need to make the braking and to outbrake the Ducatis is never easy.

"So I saw him struggling in the same areas that I was struggling. The main problem that stopped us today was being behind a group of bikes that are impossible to overtake. You cannot show your real potential because of that.

"So he didn't show his real potential and we didn't show our real potential, because we were behind and forced to follow."

With Morbidelli and Vinales at the very back of the field, Valentino Rossi was the next best Yamaha after Quartararo, in 14th place.

"I know Maverick because we were team-mates in the factory team for a long time and he's a very fast guy. He's very strong. Have a big talent," Rossi said of the Spaniard. "Our situation is a bit difficult, especially in the race because to fight with the others is not easy. So I hope that he can be stronger in the next races."

And what did Quartararo make of his team-mate's predicament?

"I don't know. it’s true that this weekend the feeling was different. The front was feeling a little bit strange, the rear was not the same. Let’s say feeling in general was different," said the Frenchman.

"I think they [Vinales' crew] are trying many things, but I prefer to look just at the top guys and not just Yamaha. So, I’m more focused on my own. But Maverick is super fast. He won the first race. In Assen he will be there again, but it’s a difficult situation for him in this track."

Sachsenring was the second event for Vinales, now sixth in the world championship, with his new crew chef Silvano Galbusera.