Jorge Lorenzo admits he has all but ceded the 2013 MotoGP championship to Marc Marquez after being beaten to second by the Honda rider at Sepang.
Marquez eventually prevailed in a ferocious fight with Lorenzo's Yamaha, allowing him to extend his championship advantage to 43 points heading into the final three rounds of the season. While Lorenzo insists he will not abandon his charge, he accepts Marquez is almost out of touch.
"What do I have to say? I don't know. We hope to be stronger in Phillip Island; it's the only hope we can have," Lorenzo said. "We hope [in Australia] we can fight for the win and also to keep second in the championship. First seems more difficult now."
Lorenzo said his and Yamaha's hopes could be determined by ambient temperatures, with heat proving a particular Achilles' heel for Yamaha.
"To be honest I was happy to win in Silverstone and Misano, in normal conditions, but in Aragon we had some problems and here it was much worse," he said. "When it is hotter our front tire is very soft and we lose rear grip.
"When we don't have rear grip we start to drop on the braking, have to push more on the front and then struggle under acceleration. So we have two problems: the braking and also the acceleration.
"[At Sepang] Honda was much, much faster and the only thing we could do was what we did: try to fight, try to make them make mistakes. We struggled so much it was impossible to fight with these guys."