By Peter McLaren
Andrea Dovizioso is determined to land a factory MotoGP ride for 2009 - and hasn't ruled out leaving Honda to get it.
Seven races into his rookie MotoGP season and the talented Italian has already taken a satellite-spec RC212V to the brink of a podium finish - but says the limitations of his machinery are too great, and getting bigger.
"It's very difficult in MotoGP. The level is very high and especially the factory bikes - they improve their bike, their package, very quickly," said Dovizioso, during an exclusive interview with Crash.net
"Our package is last year's Honda factory bike. So it is really difficult for us to fight with the  factory bikes.
"At Barcelona we did a very good race, but I couldn't fight for the podium. It's very difficult for us. We can make a very good race, but we are always limited," declared Dovi, who has finished in fourth twice so far this season.
When asked about the differences between his JiR Team Scot ride and the factory machines, Dovizioso said there were too many to mention.
"We need many things. Not only more power," he replied. "It is many, many, many things…"
"From now on the plan is for no more new parts this year," he added.
Having made his determination to secure cutting-edge machinery for next season clear, Dovizioso added that it is an achievable goal.
"I think I can get a factory bike [for next year]," he confirmed. "I want to get a factory bike because I want to fight for the championship."
Should the pneumatic-valve engine not reverse Nicky Hayden's 800cc fortunes, Dovizioso is hotly tipped to step in to the factory Honda team alongside Dani Pedrosa
for 2009, although a third factory machine - run by JiR - is also a realistic prospect.
Given the intensity of those rumours, it is perhaps surprising that Dovizioso was non-committal when asked if he planned to stay with Honda - although negotiations for next season are yet to start.
"I've raced for seven years with Honda so my target was to go with HRC, but I don't know," he shrugged. "I want to speak with all the factories and find the best way.