Randy de Puniet's troubled start to life as a World Superbike Championship rider reached a new low at Assen as two DNFs brought about by persistent struggles with braking and traction left him with no points to show for.

Save for a top ten finish at Phillip Island, the former MotoGP rider has not come close to the top ten during the opening five rounds of the season and currently languishes 16th in the standings with just 15 points.

Indeed, Assen - a venue he knows well from his lengthy time in MotoGP - proved tough throughout, the Frenchman hampered by problems with traction and engine braking throughout.

Consequently, de Puniet qualified down in 18th before barrelling out of race one, and taking team-mate Alex Lowes with him, before withdrawing early in race two due to a lack of feeling on the spare GSX-R1000

"From the beginning of the weekend we've had problems with the traction control, engine braking...it's impossible to ride," de Puniet told the World Superbike website. "I never got in three laps in a row until the race. So I started 18th and the feeling was not good, but you always try to give your best in the race. I was struggling a lot to stop the bike.

"Alex went straight on. I was just behind and not able to decelerate the bike as I wanted, so had to apply more front brake pressure and lost the front at Turn 1. At the very same moment, Alex was there and when I slid my body hit his bike. I am lucky not to be hurt and so is he.

"My first bike was completely destroyed, so in Race 2 I used the second bike. The feeling with the chassis was not good and I had no front feeling, so I decided to stop because it was completely stupid to continue the race in this condition."

"Randy made the decision to stop in race two," added team manager Paul Denning. "Both riders were under instruction not to take any risks, we need to get the bike right and we need two fit, motivated riders when that happens.

"We will be doing absolutely everything in our power to make sure that we use the next two weeks before Imola to arrive in Italy with a properly competitive GSX-R."



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