Tuscany (Italy), May 31: MotoGP great Jorge Lorenzo has conceded he is unlikely to challenge for a podium place at the Italian Grand Prix.
Lorenzo has endured a difficult season so far, and heads to Mugello 14th in the championship with just 16 points.
The Spaniard has typically been a strong performer at the circuit, winning six of the last eight Italian Grand Prix in the top category.
But, having struggled with injury last season and missed part of pre-season testing, Lorenzo, whose 11th-place finish at Le Mans last time out was his highest of the campaign so far, acknowledged it is hard to imagine him fighting the likes of Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi or Andrea Dovizioso – who will take part in his 300th race – for pole position.
"It's very tough when you have won so many world titles, victories and you are used to it, is very tough to be so far from the winner and further down than 10th place," the three-time champion told a news conference.
"In Le Mans, I make another step in some little parts and also my riding style
"Unfortunately it's very small steps, (and I will not) be able to fight for something big, a victory or podium. It's difficult to imagine that (I will achieve this on) Sunday."
Lorenzo left Ducati to join Repsol Honda in 2018, but missed half of last season through injury, and was also absent for much of pre-season testing, which he cites as one of the contributing factors to his poor form.
"Very tough. It was tough at Ducati and now it's probably a little bit tougher," Lorenzo added.
"It's a continued fight with your mind to change your thoughts from negative to positive constantly.
"We have to understand the lack of pre-season (mileage), the lack of understanding (with the bike), the lack of private testing compared to the five days we had last year. This makes my improvement slower."