Scant reward for FPR at Valencia
Foggy PETRONAS Racing finished the third round of the Superbike World Championship at Valencia, Spain, with scant reward for their continued efforts.
After the joy of qualifying on the front row, Steve Martin again had to battle hard for the team's only point of the weekend when he finished 15th in the second race.
Team-mate Craig Jones was able to gain encouragement from two race finishes, in which he showed further promise for the remainder of the season.
Both race wins went to championship leader Troy Bayliss, who tracked his compatriot Troy Corser before pulling away in the final stages.
The day began in disappointing fashion for FPR as Steve was forced to pull in during the first race, after experiencing deteriorating grip from the rear. In race two he was closing in on Alex Barros in 14th during the final stages.
Craig completed the first race in 22nd, despite suffering an oil leak in the opening laps, and was challenging Giovanni Bussei, standing in for the injured Karl Muggeridge, on the Winston Ten Kate Honda for 20th in race two when he ran off into the gravel at the end of the start-finish straight.
Craig said: "I had a good second race and felt that I made a lot of progress. I was doing consistent lap times throughout the race after a good start, when I got my elbows out for the first couple of corners to make up some places. When Bussei passed me I thought he would pull away but I found that little bit extra that I have been looking for and he was holding me up eventually. But, whether it was down to me or the bike, I experienced two or three false neutrals going into turn one and, when I couldn't get it back into gear, I ran off into the gravel. I didn't get the best of starts in the first race as I was beaten up in the first corner when Barros sat up, forcing me to sit up too. But then I managed to get past a few before, after about five laps, I had oil on my boots from a leak and my feet kept slipping off the pegs. If I had had a better feeling and better stopping power at the front I could have finished higher. Monza is a new track for me but I am looking forward to learning it and hopefully we can make more progress."
Steve said: "The bike is a million times better than at this time last year but we still need to find more horsepower in order to be race competitive throughout the year. I made an excellent start to the second race but, once again, was chewed up going into the first corner. You cannot afford to give away anything in such a competitive championship or you are going to go backwards, no matter how well the bike is handling. And although I didn't finish the first race, I did feel as though we were racing until, on lap 12, I lost the rear a couple of times. I felt I had to come in to check there wasn't a major problem, which there wasn't, so maybe I was a little over-cautious. Once again, though, the effort of everyone involved has been faultless."
Race two results, Superbike World Championship round three, Valencia, Spain:
Race one results: