Jason O’Halloran returned to Market Rasen empty-handed after the latest round of the British Superbikes with two fourth-place finishes and a DNF.
Already confirmed as one of the six riders to contest the title showdown, the Australian rider headed to Oulton park riding for podium points.
He qualified the Louth-based Honda Racing Superbike in fourth place, but a bad start in race one on Saturday dropped him to ninth on the first lap.
O’Halloran moved forward and after a battle for position, shook off the attentions of his team-mate Dan Linfoot and gave chase to fellow Lincolnshire rider Peter Hickman.
When Hicky passed Luke Mossey for fifth place O’Halloran was quick to make the same move and again chased the Louth racer who was running in fourth.
When Shakey Byrne highsided with four laps left, O’Halloran was promoted to fourth, but although he was very close to Hickman, he was unable to pass and completed the 18 laps one place off the podium.
“It’s nice to be disappointed with fourth,” O’Halloran said. “In the last few rounds we have got used to standing on the podium so when you finish fourth it’s not a nice feeling to not be up on the box.
“But we can take the positives from that race and make improvements in some areas. I made passes on the brakes when I couldn’t in the last round so that is really good for us going into the next few rounds.
“I got a really bad start and everyone was having issues with tyre wear so I used the best part of the tyre in the first half of the race to get back on terms with the leaders.
“In general it was not a great race but not a bad one either. Unfortunately the fourth, fifth and sixth places don’t count for anything going into the showdown format as I need the podium credits.”
He would not to earn any podium credits in Cheshire as he again finished fourth in race two.
But things looked promising as O’Halloran started the final encounter from pole position and led the early laps, dicing throughout with Leon Haslam.
He was running in second on lap 13 when he was slowed and dropped down to 12th with a bike problem, retiring into the pits at the end of the lap.
Going into the three showdown rounds the Rasen rider holds third place in the championship with 237 points.
The next round is at Donington Park this weekend for two further races, opening on Friday with two free practice sessions at 10.15am and 4pm.
Saturday qualifying is at 4.02pm ahead of Sunday’s two 20-lap races at 1.30pm and 3.30pm.