Marco Melandri admitted he has no idea how to turn his form around after qualifying last for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix. The Italian has struggled with the latest Honda since returning to the Gresini team over the winter, and has resigned himself to an equally poor race.
"I am really disappointed," said Melandri, who finished in the top five in the championship in all of his three previous seasons at Gresini. "I just can't get a feeling for the chassis or the engine and everything we try seems to be in vain.
"We put the soft tire on and went slower and at this moment in time I am completely out of ideas as to what we can do. Maybe we need a magic wand that we can wave at the bike and everything slots into place. We'll see what the race is like but I don't expect it to be a good one for us."
Melandri's teammate Marco Simoncelli qualified two places ahead in 15th, despite crashing early in the session.
"Unfortunately, the session didn't start well with the crash, which meant I needed a few laps to regain my confidence and set back the whole program," said the former 250cc champion. "It is a shame because we really needed to get through a full session. I just went into the corner too hard – trying to avoid [Hiroshi] Aoyama, I braked too late and lost the front when I tipped it in."
Team boss Fausto Gresini promised his squad will do all it could to lift its riders, and remains confident that the package will ultimately come good.
"Unfortunately, at the moment, things are not progressing in the right way and that was added to today by a crash for Simoncelli, which came just as he was improving," said Gresini. "It is a difficult time for him and even more so for Melandri who cannot get the potential out of his bike at the moment.
"We can't do anything but try our best to work out how we can help him. We have faith in the riders, the engineers and Honda and we are sure that the results will soon come that our effort and enthusiasm deserve."