Casey Stoner remains convinced that he can be competitive with the Ducati GP10, though he has once again ruled himself out of the title battle.
The 2007 champion admitted that he has not made the most of the opportunities presented to him so far, and that had he not made a poor start and suffered arm pump during the British MotoGP at Silverstone, he would have challenged eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo.
"I've said that I'm not part of this championship for a while now, so it's not my department to talk about," he said. "I've got to get myself farther up in the standings and I am not doing it any justice at the moment, so for me it is out of the question. I am just going to try and get some results.
"We haven't had the results we needed this year, but for sure without the arm pump I would have been on the podium," he added. "I'm not too worried. It's three out of five races that we've had a very good shot at a win. It's just not working out at the moment, but it is a long season and there are still a lot of races to win."
Stoner suffered from a problem with the GP10's original front forks at the beginning of the season and has indicated that this was a significant factor in his accidents at Qatar and Le Mans. Since then, the Ducati team has reverted to its '09 forks, and Stoner reckons his confidence in the bike's front-end has been restored.
"The bike is completely different now," he said. "I feel confident again with the front. We didn't think we had issues and then all of a sudden the front end would just fold and there was no way to get it back.
"With this front end when it folds, it is easy to pick the bike up again and I didn't have any problems during the race. It felt good and felt confident. In general, the front end of the bike is working quite well now."
Stoner also believes the GP10's raw pace is enough for it to compete with Yamaha's M1 and the Honda RC212V – the two chassis that have so far scooped up the five victories between them.
"We've only had one bad race this year, which was Mugello," said Stoner. "I know it was my best result, but we never had the pace all weekend. Every other race we've had pace. At Jerez I struggled with the front end and had to back off, I just needed more confidence. But in every race we have been there or thereabouts."