Marco Melandri was at a loss to explain his terrible pace during the first World Superbike Championship race at a wet Donington Park after finishing last and more than a lap down.

The Italian started ninth but quickly slid down to the back of the field, lapping around four seconds off the pace of the race leading Rea as he suffered the ignominy of being lapped by the Kawasaki man.

A sobering moment for the experienced Italian, he couldn’t understand why his form in the wet – which he insists is normally strong – is so weak on the GRT Yamaha.

“I don't really know what the problem was, but in the wet the feeling was like I had no grip at all from the rear and I could not feel the connection with the track for the whole race. The bike was moving so much on the rear and there was no feeling at all. It meant the bike was impossible for me to ride today.

“It's strange because normally in the wet I'm fast but now, whenever there is a lot of water on track, I get lost. We will see for Sunday, when the conditions are expected to improve."

Despite the issues, he still scored points as one the 14 finishers, unlike team-mate Sandro Cortese who crashed out whilst battling on the fringes of the top ten.

“It's a big shame because I got a great start and was fighting for a top ten position when I had a highside on entry to the corner. Luckily, I'm uninjured, but it's always a shame not to finish a race because of a small mistake.

“Sorry for the team, who have some work to do now to repair my R1, but let's hope we have better conditions for the two races tomorrow so that we can make amends with better results."

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