Suzuki's strong pre-season form and pace leading up to the Qatar Grand Prix set unrealistic hopes for the MotoGP season opener, Maverick Vinales admits.
Starting his second season in the premier class, and year two of Suzuki's return, Vinales topped two days of pre-season testing and then qualified on the front row for Sunday's season opener.
Vinales lost places off the line and settled in behind Dani Pedrosa, adrift of the lead pack, but could not pass the Honda rider, and then started to struggle with grip under braking.
He still finished fifth, 15.423 seconds behind victor Jorge Lorenzo, representing a major step forward from his debut 12 months earlier, when he was 14th, 33.463s behind the winner.
"The expectation was too high," he said.
"I was expecting to be in the top [group], at least finishing the race with them.
"But I was feeling not so good, like before, on the bike.
"I don't know why the grip was so low, not on acceleration it was under brakes.
"Anyway, we did a good job all weekend, it's my best weekend here in MotoGP.
"Now we hope that Suzuki bring another step to be on the top, because if we work hard, we can be."
Vinales wants to try Suzuki's 2016 chassis in the next round in Argentina on April 1-3, when he is also set to adopt the manufacturer's full-seamless gearbox, having elected to race the upshift-only version in Qatar.
The 21-year-old believes Suzuki is only chasing small gains to join the lead pack, following off-season engine gains.
"It is not a lot," he said. "Just to find a little bit more grip that make your lines easier.
"When you can keep the speed in the corner, the laptime comes easy.
"I have a lot of confidence in Suzuki and they will bring something that I can improve to be on the top.
"When I go behind the top riders I feel I can do the same, so [it's] just keeping concentration, keeping confidence and trusting Suzuki can bring me a bike to get that."
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