Suzuki team boss Paul Denning remains confident that this year's bike is a step forward, even though the results do not show it, and believes it will be competitive once rider confidence improves.
The squad was the slowest factory outfit last season and has made a similarly troubled start to 2010. Loris Capirossi's ninth place in Qatar is its best result to date and he is down in 15th in the championship, while his injury-plagued rookie teammate Alvaro Bautista is last in the standings.
"The season really hasn't started for us yet," Denning admitted. "That's especially frustrating when the bike has definitely improved a lot.
"Obviously Alvaro has no reference point to compare it against, but Loris is basically very happy with the bike and the improvements that Suzuki has made. Especially in acceleration and power delivery – this is the first year that I haven't heard either of our riders complain about the performance of the engine in comparison to our competitors."
Capirossi has had falls in several races this year, and Denning suspects this is due to the bike reacting badly to the changed track conditions following the Moto2 races.
"Some riders said they were experiencing some differences on race day, and for some reason some riders were more affected than others," he said. "Whether this has something to do with the preceding Moto2 race, when there are 41 bikes on the track for such a length of time, we have certainly seen a change between qualifying and the race and that is affecting some bikes.
"Loris had those issues at Mugello and when you have just crashed two races in a row you don't want to again, especially at home. So in that situation he took it easy and brought the bike home. Maybe if he had two good results in Jerez and Le Mans his confidence would have been up and he would have pushed harder."
Denning is confident that Suzuki's basic 2010 package can be competitive when everything comes together.
"Where we are right now obviously stinks and there is a lot to do, but the only positive aspect is that the bike has definitely improved and when the rider confidence improves and the situation moves forward, then I think we have a machine that we can fight for top positions with," he said. "Suzuki has done a good job with the bike, they know about motorbike racing, they have won before and they are doing very well in the world superbike championship this year and they have improved that quite a lot. In racing, everything needs to gel together and it hasn't quite done that yet for us this year."