Valentino Rossi desperately needs to turn speed into results as the second half of the MotoGP season gets underway in Austria this weekend.
Despite being more competitive than last season, three non-scores mean Rossi a huge 59 points from Honda's Marc Marquez and eleven adrift of Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
"It was a long break. I certainly rested a lot!" Rossi said. "I went on holiday but I continued to train. Now, however, I really want to get back on the track and do my best in this second half of the season.
"We have done good races up to this point. Some of them could have been better but we have proven that we're fast."
Rossi was the fastest non-Ducati during last month's private test at the Red Bull Ring, albeit only in fifth place and almost one-second from Andrea Iannone
“It is a particular type of track. It is very, very fast and just ten corners. The average speed is very high and you stay a lot of time at full throttle," Rossi said.
"The track is interesting and sincerely I like the corners - especially when you go downhill on the left you have turns 5-6-7, and also the last two corners - but unfortunately there are not enough of them!
“From the performance side is not our track because usually we suffer a bit with top speed and in the straight we lose quite a lot. So it's not the perfect track for the M1.
"The race is always different to the test, but on paper now the two factory [Ducatis] are too fast for us. We know it will be hard with the Ducatis for sure, but very interesting to understand the potential of the factory Hondas. If they are like us, or better, or worse."
Like many riders at the test, Rossi also expressed some concerns about safety on a circuit that is set to record the highest average speed on the calendar
"The layout is very good, so is not particularly dangerous. But for me there are two or three points where it is better don't crash. Because if you crash it is a big problem!"
The nine time world champion - the only current rider to have previously raced in an Austrian motorcycle grand prix, finishing third and second in the 125cc class in 1996 and '97 - added:
"For me it has two places that are too dangerous; the exit of the last corner and also the exit from the right before the last two rights, [Turn 8]. Not enough room. We spoke, but I think no way to modify to have more room.”
Other riders had highlighted the lack of run-off at turn three, at the end of the longest straight, with fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci saying:
"Corner 3, the second braking area, is maybe most dangerous. The F1 cars brake later, when they are still straight. We have to brake while turning left and some riders had the front locking, so it is quite scary with the wall and there is not enough space. If someone crashes the bike will arrive in Vienna!”
Pressed for his thoughts on that turn, Rossi added: “You arrive very fast and the corner is very tight, so is a hard braking and for sure also there the space is not fantastic. But for me the exit of Turn 8 and the last corner is more dangerous.”
By Peter McLaren