Not even an equalling of his best result in the MotoGP class would hide Maverick Viñales' disappointment, as his Saturday proclamation that he could challenge the leading group in the first race of 2016 proved incorrect.
The Spaniard came home in sixth, but more importantly 15 seconds behind the eventual race winner, and 13 from the podium places, as he struggled to maintain rear grip under braking.
Armed with Suzuki's 2015 chassis and the first version of its seamless gearbox, Viñales struggled to pass Dani Pedrosa in the opening ten laps, before losing substantial grip after lap ten and collecting a solid ten points for his efforts.
Given his considerable pace in the afternoon warm-up, in which he registered six consecutive laps in the 1m 55s, Viñales was puzzled as to why he couldn't replicate that speed in the race.
“The expectation was too high,” admitted the 21-year old. “I was expecting to finish in the top. At least I raced with them. I was feeling not so good like before on the bike. I don't know why the grip was so low, not on the acceleration but on the brakes. I was braking all the time and the rear was sliding and it was impossible to keep the corner speed.
“We did a good job all weekend. For me it's my best weekend in MotoGP. Also, 14 seconds, if you think that I lose at least four or five seconds behind Dani it's a really good result for us. Now I hope Suzuki can bring another step to be on the top. If we work hard we can be. For sure I will work at home more than ever to try and improve also myself.
“It is just to find a bit more grip to make the lines easier. When you can keep the corner speed the lap time comes easy but now that I am struggling so much on the brakes, the rear was sliding.
“The first lap was OK, I was feeling good. Only I could not overtake Dani. It was so difficult. Then after lap ten the tyres drop and it was so difficult to keep the pace, so difficult. I never 56.6 all the weekend and now I was doing it. I really don't understand. We will analyse and I think we have a lot of information to go to Argentina.”
Considering Honda's current issues, it was interesting to note that Viñales was losing crucial ground on the exits of turns 6 and ten, two of the Losail circuit's slowest corners.
“[I was losing time] On the gas, on the acceleration he was going all the time. I was trying to catch, catch, catch through the fast sectors. Also in sector one but then corner six and ten, I don't know if they have more grip than us, but I was struggling a lot. He was going.”
The Catalan, whose plans for 2017 are the subject of much speculation, feels he is ready to compete with the faster riders in the class and reiterated his confidence in Suzuki providing a machine 'that will improve to be on the top.'
“For sure my conclusion is that our objective is to be in the top six. But everyone was expecting much more after the warm-up, after the qualifying. Also me, I put one expectation that was maybe not correct.
“I have a lot of confidence in Suzuki and they will bring something that will improve to be on the top. When I'm behind the top riders I feel I can do the same. Just keep concentrated, keep confidence in Suzuki that can bring a bike so I can be there.”