Andrea Dovizioso conceded he is not at the level of his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa yet after reluctantly having to concede third to the Spaniard on the final lap of the French Grand Prix.
The Italian looked set for a third place at Le Mans, but ultimately lost more than seven seconds to Pedrosa in the last ten laps, with the latter snatching the final podium position just three corners from the chequered flag.
"My only regret is with the last lap, where I didn't move in the right way," Dovizioso told Italia1 television. "Pedrosa managed to get beside me at the end of the straight. I tried to get off the brake in order to stay ahead but he did the same: he was on the inside so he was able to control me. Unfortunately I went a bit wide so I wasn't able to fight back.
"It's a shame, I'm sorry for the team. We worked hard and I'm very happy with the race: we were going extremely quick in the rain, we pitted at the right time even though we could have done that a few laps earlier. I'd say everything went well, so I'm sorry about missing the podium."
"I didn't let him, he was good at getting back," Dovizioso replied when asked why he allowed Pedrosa to get so close towards the end of the race. "So hats off to him, especially in the last four or five laps: he was doing incredible lap times in the low 1m35s, so with the conditions we had I can only say well done to him."
When questioned over whether he thinks he is at Pedrosa's level, Dovizioso replied he still had to improve.
"I can't say I'm at his level because he's riding more quickly than me," he said. "So I congratulate him, because I know exactly what our package is, so to be able to do what he does means he's worked well, he has experience with this bike, and he's riding it quickly, really quickly.
"We're working, we are getting closer. Unfortunately we aren't as quick as he is yet, but we are getting closer and I hope we can do it as soon as possible."
This race marked the first time Dovizioso had switched bikes mid-way through a race, as there had been no mixed-weather races in his MotoGP rookie season last year, and the mid-race bike change rule does not apply in the smaller categories.
"I've never done a race like this: he bike switch in MotoGP, which I've never done before, is a novelty for me and I liked it very much," he explained. "It's always a lottery, but starting with rain tyres then switching to slicks is good, I like these regulations.
"Obviously you can easily lose races, but it's the same for everyone, so it's down to the team's and to the rider's ability."