Casey Stoner says it will be an achievement just to keep the title race alive into the closing stages of the 2012 MotoGP season given the disadvantage he feels his Honda team is now at with the latest specification Bridgestone tyre.
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo now leads Stoner by 25 points in the championship after three straight race wins, while reigning champion Stoner feels Bridgestone's recent change of front tyre has exacerbated Honda's chatter issues to the point where it will now be hard to win the title.
"Unfortunately with this new tyre, we felt from the first moment we tested it that it made things a lot worse," said Stoner. "On the spec tyres that we were running last year, we didn't have any chatter. Then we put on this year's spec tyre and immediately got chatter. That the updated version made everything worse again.
"Every step Bridgestone has taken has made things a lot more complicated for us, but I suppose it makes the challenge bigger and if we can at least take the fight for the championship towards the end then I think it will be a great achievement because everything's sort of stacking up against us at the moment."
Stoner feels Honda's deficit is relatively small, but is proving costly, and hopes he can improve the situation with minor changes.
"We've had a tough last few races, things haven't really gone to plan," he said. "We've given it everything we have, but the results haven't been what we wanted.
"We've had a couple of opportunities where I thought we could've done better - maybe if I just did things a little bit differently in the race and things like that. But in general, I can't complain. We've still been on the podium, we've still been getting good points.
"It makes things tough for this second part of the season, but in general we're happy with our performance. We just need to pick up our pace a little bit and be more comfortable with the bike."