MotoGP's top factory riders could find themselves in the bottom half of the top 10 if they are not on the money this year, Honda's Marc Marquez believes.
The two-time world champion struggled with Honda's aggressive engine in its 2015 frame last year, but never dropped below fifth in the standings.
Following a switch back to the 2014 Honda with the updated engine, Marquez won four races in the second half of the season on his way to third in the championship behind Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
With Ducati and Suzuki having made significant progress over the off-season, Marquez believes similar struggles this year could be more costly.
"Last year, two years ago, when maybe on Sunday you didn't feel well, you didn't have the correct set-up, you finished fourth or fifth," he told MotoGP.com.
"This year it will be different. This year, you must be ready because if not you could finish eighth, ninth, 10th, because you have many riders.
"We anyway have Ducati riders, Suzuki riders that did a big step and it will be really nice, I think, especially the first race."
Following a long period of stability with the core regulations, a switch from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres in 2016 coincides with the introduction of a control ECU.
Aspar Ducati rider Eugene Laverty believes those changes will result in surprises, in his second season in MotoGP.
"For me it is the most exciting time for MotoGP probably in the last 15 years," the World Superbike race winner said.
"The change from two-stroke to four-stroke was the last big shake-up and I think these regulations should shake things up again because really every track will be something different.
"We are going to see one bike strong at one track, one bike stronger at another because the teams and manufacturers don't have a lot of data with which to work, in terms of the tyres and electronics.
"Every racetrack needs to be learned again on Friday and Saturday so I expect every weekend to be different to the last."