Foggy PETRONAS Racing's joy in qualifying second on the grid for the second round of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, Australia, turned to despair on race day.
Riders Steve Martin and Garry McCoy were unable to finish either race with both retiring from the first race through mechanical problems before crashing out of the restarted wet section of the second race.
The day had started full of promise after Steve had qualified in second spot, with Garry close behind in seventh.
And both riders were maintaining an encouraging pace - Garry in eighth and Steve in tenth - in race two before rain resulted in a red flag. The restarted race produced mayhem, with Garry the first of five riders to crash at the same Haysheds section of the circuit.
Steve then suffered a bruised chin, arm and finger when his bike landed on top of him following a high-side at the first corner, four laps into the restarted race when he was in sixth place on aggregate times.
But he was able to draw a number of positives from his home round of the championship.
Steve said: "To qualify in second at my home circuit and to set my fastest lap here is something that I will remember for a long time. Both Garry and I are on the pace and that is good for PETRONAS and the team. When we get a bit more power, instead of just catching people we will be able to catch them and pass them. I got a better start in race two but was getting chewed up down the staights. After the restart I went into turn one as normal and, before I even got on the gas, the bike high-sided me and landed on top of me, driving me into the ground. I had a terrible start in the first race and Muggeridge made it hard for me to get past. The group in front had broken up by then but once I was past him I was able to pull a bit of a gap before I had to retire. They were the windiest conditions I have raced in."
In a hectic gap between races the FPR mechanics were hard at work drilling holes into the fairings in order to reduce the effect on the bike of the gusting side winds at the coastal circuit.
Garry was again able to set a string of competitive lap times before the rain arrived after 10 laps. And he was also able to gain encouragement from the dry sections of the races, both won comfortably by Troy Corser.
He said: "If I had been able to get away with the front guys I probably could have had a better chance of being close. When I got past Steve and Chris Walker I was starting to concentrate on the guys in front but had probably wasted the tyre a bit in the early stages. I had actually had a few slips at Haysheds earlier in the day as it seemed a little greasy there. I went in there quite cautious so there could even have been a gush of wind because the bike went sideways all of a sudden. I got flicked onto the front screen and went down into the kitty litter! Andrew Pitt also came off behind me and I thought `Here comes something blue' as I was lying there. I was confident his bike would stop before reaching me or else I would have been out of there! In the first race I got a good start and had the front guys in my sights. I was pretty happy that I could be consistent throughout the race and, with a bit more luck, I would have finished up there."