Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning could consider Donington Park a missed avenue on the development path of the YZF-R1 with both his full-time riders out injured but he remains optimistic with the squad's learning curve.

After ending a long term partnership with Suzuki to launch the factory-supported Yamaha effort on the manufacturer's return to World Superbikes, Denning outlined a three-year project of turning the new bike into a world championship winner.

Having seen the immediate impression the R1 made in the British, German and American series, the team were instantly astounded by the base setting on the bike and initial results were positive with two top sixes on debut for Sylvain Guintoli at Phillip Island.

However, unexpected technical challenges stalled the progress on the return to Europe before both Guintoli and team-mate Alex Lowes were struck down with injuries.

Guintoli suffered a broken ankle in a heavy high-side off in qualifying at Imola while Lowes broke his left collarbone in a wet race two crash in Sepang.

Despite a courageous battle to be race ready just two weeks later at his home at Donington Park, Lowes reluctantly withdrew from the round due to the pain being too great.

With only stand-in rider Cameron Beaubier bearing the flag for Paul Denning's squad at the British track the team's progress was dented but Denning remains optimistic for a second half of the season charge.

"I don't know if it was the worst possible time but it certainly slowed down the development," Denning told "Alex was so desperate to ride here [Donington]. He knew that the bike had moved forward over the past couple of races and at a track that he understands so well and has so much more experience compared to the others.

"He knew he'd be able to identify even more clearly areas for improvement and on the Friday short runs he's been able to do with the injury clearly the speed is there having finished fourth, which is ridiculous considering the injury he is carrying.

"We have to thank Alex for his enthusiasm and positivity towards the project and putting himself through it because he wants to be world champion on this bike next year as is willing to put the effort in to achieve that.

"Sylvain's range of injuries were far more serious and we've got to hope he will be back in time for Misano with a positive attitude and a fit body."

Assessing Pata Yamaha's progress over the opening seven rounds, Denning has refused to use the bad luck excuse - but does hope it ends next time out at Misano - as he looks for the team to pick up its rate of developments in time for the potential of the R1 to match his goals.

"This year was always going to be a development year for the bike, the team and the riders," he said. "Let's hope now the bad luck, but I firmly believe in making your own luck, let's hope that is all part of the learning curve.

"In the second part of the year we can progress solidly because the potential of the bike is a world championship winning, there is no doubt about that."



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