Marco Simoncelli has admitted that he has been disappointed with his MotoGP testing form so far, but remains confident that he can get up to speed when the season starts.
The 2008 250cc champion has graduated to MotoGP with Gresini Honda this year. Although there were high expectations given his 250cc record, so far Simoncelli has languished near the back in testing and has had some substantial accidents.
But he thinks he was on the verge of a significant setup breakthrough before his fall at Sepang last week.
"At the moment, the important thing is that I didn't break any bones in the Sepang crash," Simoncelli told Gazzetta dello Sport at Gresini's 2010 launch event.
"I know we are behind and I'd be stupid if I wasn't worried. However, I think we've found the right way to sort out the bike frame at the rear, where I struggle. I had to verify that during the second test day, but I wasn't able to because of the crash."
He also pointed out that all the Honda riders have had a tough start to 2010. "If the works riders have problems, then it's normal for me to have problems, too: we are rookies, both the team and myself," Simoncelli said. "An inexperienced team may be a problem now, but having these men with me once we are sorted will be an advantage. It would be a disaster if I was two seconds slower with a sorted bike, instead I know we aren't there yet and this is why I'm behind."
He confessed that having seen the likes of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso impress from the outset in MotoGP in recent years, he had not expected to struggle as much as he has.
"At the moment, the only thing I need to worry about is to get experience," Simoncelli said. "Honestly, coming from the 250cc class and having seen other riders making the move, I had expected to do a bit better. Obviously, if another rookie ends up in front of you it's annoying.
"But at the moment I must only look at the stopwatch. I'm two seconds slower [than the leaders], so the objective is to reduce that to 1.5sec, then one second, then try to fight it out with the frontrunners. Should I manage to go up against my friend Valentino [Rossi], that would be an enormous satisfaction."