“It was a really busy winter, especially because we changed so many things. We changed the technical director, and then there were new ideas in the box, and then we were just working on concepts. The only day I was working on myself and with the proper bike was the last day in Portimao, even like this we were far from the top guys. So right now we cannot think about a podium or victory, especially here in Portimao.
“In the end, the championship is long, we are working hard. I need to improve myself. Honda is working, and the team is working. The last day in Portimao was not bad, we were coming closer and closer. On race pace, we were able to be close to the top guys, in the single lap we are still very far especially to the Ducati riders. Let’s see. Let’s see how it is this weekend, but especially how it will be in the next few races.
“In the first three or four races you immediately understand if you can fight for the top positions or if you need to keep working to be closer.
“It’s obvious that Ducati right now has a really strong package. All Ducati riders do, but Pecco is the fastest one. We are far from them but we are even further from Pecco who was incredibly fast in the preseason. We are still working in the garage and on the bike to try to better in the same areas as last year. We need to keep investigating how to improve and be closer to the top guys.
“In the end, we are a team. We win together and we lose together. The last three years have indeed been tough for me, and tough for Honda. We are not coming from the best situation, and for this reason, we are not title contenders right now.
“We need to keep working, building the project, and trying to be more competitive in the future. But my ambition is the same as it was in 2013. I am here to fight for the top positions. I will do what I can to fight for the top positions. I believe in the project, I believe in Honda.
“The championship is very long, from one day to another the situation can change as we saw last year with Pecco. He started not so well, with many problems in the preseason but then from one race to another he started achieving a good level and then won many races in a row.”
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