Jorge Lorenzo says it felt in French Grand Prix practice like Yamaha had not progressed from its 2010 pace, but the world champion remains hopeful that he can be more competitive by qualifying.
Lorenzo, who is chasing a third successive Le Mans win, was only fifth in today's two practice sessions, a second off the pace, as Honda's Casey Stoner led the way.
"The lap time is not improving from last year, that's the problem," said Lorenzo. "The bike is more or less working like last year, and the lap time is the same. The problem is that the others are very far away and they are really, really fast. If they were on the same lap time as me, it would be no problem. But they are too far at this moment."
But he insisted that all was not lost for this weekend, and that Yamaha might be able to close the gap with setup changes.
"It's clear that the Honda is really fast, but we are leading the championship, and I think we can be faster tomorrow," Lorenzo said. "We are going to try. We have a lot of work, a lot of thinking, a lot of things to try for tomorrow. We will change the bike quite a lot."