Jorge Lorenzo says he is not panicking about Yamaha's disappointing current form and would rather be defending a points lead on a slower bike than having to close a gap on a faster bike.
Having dominated the early part of the season, Yamaha has slipped behind main rivals Honda and Ducati in recent weeks, and at Aragon last weekend it could only finish fourth and sixth with Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi – the first time Lorenzo has missed the podium all year.
Yamaha's main weakness has been a relative lack of straightline speed, and Lorenzo said that poor traction made this particularly acute at the new Spanish venue.
"From the beginning of the weekend, we had problems with traction," he explained. "We had a lot of wheel spin from the middle to the exit of the corners. The performance of the tire went down very quickly and very much. Normally, I am stronger and stronger every lap."
He added: "It's obvious that the Yamaha now is not the strongest bike on the grid. But it's not so bad. I want to return to victories. For now, it's difficult."
Lorenzo has now finished behind title rival Dani Pedrosa (Honda) in three straight races, but his points lead has only come down from 77 to 56 points in that time, meaning Pedrosa still has to make bigger gains if he is to snatch the title in the remaining five rounds. That has left Lorenzo feeling relatively confident about his position, even if he does have to defend a dwindling advantage on a less competitive bike for now. He hopes that a new engine expected for Motegi can also help get him back on terms.
"I'm not worried, because [worrying] doesn't give me more speed," he said. "For sure I'd prefer to have a 56-point advantage than not to. I'd prefer to have this [points gap] with a slower bike than to have the fastest bike. So we hope for the new engine and we'll see what happens."