Andrea Dovizioso did not believe his Ducati had the pace to fight for honours at the Australian Grand Prix, downplaying an early error that left him to fight through the field from 20th.
Marc Marquez won at Phillip Island to open up a 33-point advantage over Dovizioso in the MotoGP standings, with just two races remaining.
After qualifying a lowly 11th, Dovizioso ran wide at Turn One, taking him well out of contention as Marquez emerged from a crazy eight-strong leading pack to seal a sixth win of the year.
As his promising campaign looks set to end without reward, the Italian said his machine's struggles through corners had made life difficult.
"Very bad result for sure, especially for the championship," said Dovizioso. "For sure my mistake on the second lap created a bad situation. But the reality is not that. The reality is we weren't fast.
"The characteristic of this track is to have good turning [ability], we confirm we still have that limit. We finished the tyres eight laps to the end, but all that is a consequence [of poor turning].
"We did really good races this year at tracks where we weren't fast in the past, but this track has a particular characteristic and the turning is so important.
"But anyway, we want to think positive for the remaining two races. We know fighting for the championship will be very difficult, but fortunately in this sport it can happen."