Andrea Dovizioso is 'really confident' that his second MotoGP season with Repsol Honda will be better than the first.
But the Italian, winner of his first MotoGP race last season in a damp British GP, doesn't expect to trouble Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner for victory in this weekend's Qatar season opener - or the rounds immediately after.
“We start better than last year and we arrive here really close to the fastest riders. Four or five tenths behind,” he said. “It is important to start the season like this because last year we were too far behind.
“Our target is to fight for the victory. We are not fast enough to fight with Casey and Valentino at this race, I think, but we are not so far. I don't know if we can recover the gap in the first two or three races, but I think during the season if our work is good we have the possibility to fight for victory.
“To think about the championship is too big, but we want to fight for victory,” he concluded.
Dovizioso, who made an early switch to Ohlins, has built considerable momentum over the winter and emerged as Honda's leading rider - at the expense of team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
The #4 was third fastest at the final pre-season test, also held at Qatar, while Pedrosa languished down in 13th place.
First free practice for the 2010 event takes place on Friday night.