Cal Crutchlow proved a thorn in the side of the factory MotoGP stars throughout the season-opening Qatar weekend, in which he battled for a podium until a mistake in the closing stages of the race.
But the Englishman believes the advantage offered to the official Yamaha and Honda riders, plus LCR's Stefan Bradl, by a private test at the Circuit of the Americas - venue for this weekend's inaugural Texas event - is too great to overcome.
“You can't lose anything to these guys,” Crutchlow explained. “The front five or six are on the limit as it is and if you've lost three days' worth of track time it's near on impossible to compete at the front.
“But if I can salvage a good result, improve every day and improve again in the race I'll be really happy. Get out of here and build more points.
"With it being such a long technical track I think we'll lose out quite a lot, but I think the other guys that haven't tested will as well. So my job is to be at the front of that group.”
The rider who excelled most during the private test was rookie Marc Marquez, fastest over all three days. Crutchlow joked that he will 'help' the Honda star get lost before the race.
“Tonight he's going to the woods. We're taking him! He never got lost on his own, so it's down to us!” smiled Crutchlow.
“No, he obviously did a fantastic test. The race weekend will be very different. The four or five guys that tested here will be able to challenge, but clearly Marc was fastest.
“After one MotoGP race he challenged for the podium, challenged his team-mate and is clearly able to challenge for the win here.
“But I think that will make the other guys step up to his pace - that's if he gets here on Sunday!”