A visibly dejected Andrea Iannone took full responsibility for a mistake which he feels cost him a podium finish in his race debut for Suzuki at the MotoGP curtain raiser in Qatar.

Despite an indifferent test at the Losail International Circuit, and a slow start to the weekend's proceedings (Iannone was just 15th in FP2), the Italian appeared to have turned a corner, and was gallantly contesting third in the opening laps.

Iannone was at his aggressive best in the race's first half, as he engaged in an early battle with Marc Marquez until a mistake at turn five on lap eleven ended his aspirations of a positive finish.

Without the error, made by misjudging Marquez's - sat just ahead - speed through the fast right, Iannone was convinced a podium finish was a very real possibility.

"I think we have a very good chance to fight for the podium," he said. "I think we could have finished very easy in third position in this race.

"For the first race for us this would have been a great result because we don't expect this result and this potential after the test. During the test we struggle a lot, during the preseason.

"But we react very well. During the practice we recovered too much gap from the first rider. We arrive in the race very competitive, very strong. This is a very positive point.

"But the negative point is that I touch Marc at corner five. In the end I lose the front. I didn't calculate too much the difficulties Marc had in this moment. But for sure in the next race is better to see a different [result]."

Following Marquez and ex-team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in those opening ten laps gave the Italian ample opportunity to assess the Suzuki GSX-RR's strengths around the 3.3-mile track.

Pushing the front when braking remains an issue he said, but exploiting the machine's excellent manoeuvrability in the corner was a big positive, even if the end result was difficult to accept.

"Because this bike during the corner has very high speed and I'm very happy about this. In the braking from a straight position, in the first part of the entry, I don't have a very good feeling.

"I have too much front lock and lose the front very easy. But when you arrive at the angle the bike was unbelievable. It's very fast turning and very fast with high speed.

"When you pick up the bike in the last part of the corner we lose a little bit. We have some difficulties. So, I talk a lot with the engineers about this problem.

"All the guys try to get a solution to adjust this situation but I think this is for the future. For the moment it's very important to use all the potential we have. I think we start for Argentina also with a lot of confidence."

Considering Maverick Vi?ales' sterling performance in the Argentine Grand Prix a year ago, Iannone heads to South America for round two believing a fine result in Termas de R?o Hondo is possible.

"I don't know at the moment but I think we have a very good potential. Qatar for Suzuki last year was a very difficult track. This year with me we stayed very close at the top.

"At Argentina last year the Suzuki is very strong and I also hope this year. Always we want to stay on the top and always we will fight to stay on the top."



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