After a sixth place in race one at Motorland, Kawasaki's Tom Sykes could not envisage a worse situation on Sunday. But he finished even further behind the lead in race two, a lowly sixth again.
Nowhere near what the 2013 champion has been hoping for. It even started to wrong from the very beginning of race two.
“The launch control did not engage and I had so much revs on the bike I almost dropped the clutch out of the engine! Disaster. I was down in God knows where. I really got into a silly fight and lost a lot of time. Essentially, I just struggled," Sykes told bikesportnews.com/.
"I think we chose the wrong front tyre and never got the best of it.”
With the winter tests going well, then leaving Phillip Island as happy as he as ever been after the opening round, since then it has not continued on a good path for Sykes.
“Thailand had a lot of potential but both races kind of screwed me with problems out of my own control,” said Sykes, now seventh in the championship and already 51 points behind championship leader Jonathan Rea. “Here we had good speed but we did not have the last bit for front end feel.”
It is not, to paraphrase a saying, all about the bike right now. “I suppose his weekend as well has, mentally, not been very good. Private life is a bit in tatters so mentally it has been challenging both on and off the track.”
Sykes knows that this round was key to keeping pace after his troubled Thailand experiences. “Disappointment is an understatement, and next week we will try and regroup,” he said about Assen, which takes place between 20-22 April. “This weekend with two sixth positions is not good, but we are strong in a lot of areas of the track, but just missed out in some others. I am confident that if there was a race three now we could go a lot stronger. We just did not get it together, partly myself and probably partly did not get the correct set-up on the bike.”
The problems Sykes is having in his personal life were not expanded on by the rider himself. He said that the specific problem at the Aragon round was more of the bike set-up, than to do with his head, however.
“The bike, generally, because if I can get it to do what I want it to do I can make a lap time anyway,” he said. “I think everybody has seen that. If the bike is perfect for me, arguably we are possibly the fastest package on the grid and that is why we have got the Superpoles to back it up.
"I am confident that if the bike turns on the throttle in the long turns I could have been considerably stronger, but sure on a night-time, yeah, in this moment of time it is probably the most difficult time in my life. But, there is almost light at the end of the tunnel now, so that is the positive.
"It is just a shame that I am a competitive sportsman and unfortunately I have got a lot of weight on my shoulders, so on a night time it is not great, but generally when I close my visor, on the bike, I tend to think it is just me alone out there. That is probably normally how it is, but sure it doesn’t help in certain other areas.”