World Superbike champion Tom Sykes was in philosophical mood after having his lead in the race for the 2014 title cut at round 10 in Jerez.
The 29-year-old Huddersfield racer had been hoping to add to the 44 point lead that he took into the meeting in southern Spain, but the Kawasaki Racing Team rider saw his advantage cut to 31 points as he finished fifth in race one and then third in race two.
Aprilia rider Marco Melandri collected two at the Circuito de Jerez to deny Sykes, but perhaps did more damage to teammate and title hopeful Sylvain Guintoli who saw more valuable points slip through his fingers.
With just meetings at Magny-Cours in France, one of Sykes’s favoured tracks, and Qatar to come the championship leader is still calling the shots in the race to take the title.
“In race one I got a good enough start, but I then managed to hit the gear lever,” said Sykes.
“That didn’t do me any favours and made the rest of the race quite difficult.
“And race two it really was a bit of an uphill battle when it came to taking on the Aprilias.
“But having said that I am satisfied enough with the trip to Jerez.
“Obviously I am not over the moon with the results, but at least we have not too much of our advantage in the championship.
“So we will take what we have got and move on to the next race and see what we can do at Magny-Cours.”
In both races Aprilia rider Melandri steadily worked his way to the front of the pack before overtaking teammate Guintoli to win.
In the second race, Melandri initially ran fifth behind Sykes’s Kawasaki teammate Loris Baz, who started from pole position, while Guintoli came up the inside at the start of lap three to leave his rivals behind.
Sykes was struggling to keep up with the Frenchman and watched helplessly as Italy’s Melandri moved past him and into second place on lap 11.
Melandri had passed his teammate with four laps remaining in race one and this time around he overtook Guintoli with five laps remaining and never looked back.
He is mathematically still in contention for the title but, at 85 points behind, it looks like the 2014 crown will go to either Sykes or Guintoli barring spectacular collapses from the pair at Magny Cours and Losail.
Chaz Davies rode his Ducati into fourth place while Jonathan Rea (Honda) was fifth ahead of Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) and Baz in seventh.
Leon Haslam (Honda) and Alex Lowes (Suzuki) were eighth and ninth, while Toni Elias (Aprilia) rounded out the top 10.
World Superbike Championship Round 10, Circuit de Jerez, Spain, Race 1: 1 Marco Melandri (Ita) Aprilia 34mins 20.164secs, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (Fra) Aprilia 34:21.561, 3 Chaz Davies (Gbr) Ducati 34:24.447, 4 Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Honda 34:25.869, 5 Tom Sykes (Gbr) Kawasaki 34:27.143, 6 Eugene Laverty (Gbr) Suzuki 34:27.506, 7 Leon Haslam (Gbr) Honda 34:35.032, 8 Toni Elias (Spa) Aprilia 34:44.017, 9 David Salom (Spa) Kawasaki 34:46.050, 10 Sylvain Barrier (Fra) BMW 34:46.700
Race 2: 1 Marco Melandri (Ita) Aprilia 34mins 25.940secs, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (Fra) Aprilia 34:28.785, 3 Tom Sykes (Gbr) Kawasaki 34:32.037, 4 Chaz Davies (Gbr) Ducati 34:33.689, 5 Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Honda 34:33.875, 6 Eugene Laverty (Gbr) Suzuki 34:36.450, 7 Loris Baz (Fra) Kawasaki 34:42.018, 8 Leon Haslam (Gbr) Honda 34:42.038, 9 Alex Lowes (Gbr) Suzuki 34:42.494, 10 Toni Elias (Spa) Aprilia 34:51.780
Riders:: 1 Tom Sykes (Gbr) Kawasaki 352pts, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (Fra) Aprilia 321, 3 Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Honda 285, 4 Marco Melandri (Ita) Aprilia 267, 5 Loris Baz (Fra) Kawasaki 262, 6 Chaz Davies (Gbr) Ducati 188, 7 Eugene Laverty (Gbr) Suzuki 154, 8 Davide Giugliano (Ita) Ducati 153, 9 Toni Elias (Spa) Aprilia 151, 10 Leon Haslam (Gbr) Honda 150
Manufacturers: 1 Kawasaki 369pts, 2 Aprilia 368, 3 Honda 285, 4 Ducati 249, 5 Suzuki 220, 6 BMW 69, 7 MV Augusta 21, 8 EBR 2