FRESH from the highs of equalling his career-best result of ninth a week earlier and gaining the PBMUK team their best result in their rookie season in Malaysia, Kendal’s James Ellison came back to earth with a bang when he crashed out of the AirAsia Australian MotoGP.
The 31-year-old rates the Phillip Island track as his favourite but could only manage 17th fastest in the opening two free practice sessions aboard the CRT-specification Aprilia ART, although he did improve one place in the third session.
Any hopes of improvements in qualifying didn't materialise as James set 17th fastest time and sixth out of the CRT bikes meaning he and the Penrith-based team faced a challenging race around the 4.448km track over 27 laps and a poor start saw Ellison handicapped further.
But things got worse five laps into the race when Ellison crashed out luckily without injury, meaning it ended the run of six consecutive points scoring finishes for the Cumbrian.
The last time he didn't see the chequered flag was at Laguna Seca when he fell late on in the race.
Despite the result, Ellison held onto 16th in the World Championship points table with the PBMUK team retaining their 11th place in the teams' standings going into the final round at Valencia in two weeks time.
Phil Borley, technical director: "After all the recent success we have enjoyed, this was a disappointing weekend for PBMUK which highlighted James' lack of confidence and feeling with the bike and tyres at some circuits.
“We could see what the ART bikes were capable of at Phillip Island by the results achieved by other riders so to suffer a crash while off the pace was not how we wanted to finish the last of the flyaway races.
“Fortunately James was not injured so we hope he can achieve a good result at the final race in Valencia in two weeks.”