Andrea Dovizioso has warned that finishing fourth in tracks like Jerez, which don't suit Ducati's bike, will not be enough to topple Marc Marquez in the 2019 MotoGP title fight.
Dovizioso's fourth-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix extended his streak of no MotoGP podiums at Jerez to 12 consecutive years.
Honda rider Marquez has enjoyed a strong start to the season by finishing second in Qatar and winning with ease in Argentina and Jerez - and would've been well clear in the title race had he not crashed out of a commanding lead in Austin.
After the race at Jerez, Dovizioso said: "When we are struggling we finish fourth; it is good, but not enough. I am a bit disappointed about that.
"Marc, I think, is strong enough to fight for the victory or the podium in every race, also when we are in a bad track for him. This is the part where I am not too happy."
Dovizioso had hoped Ducati's traditional corned speed weakness would be less prominent at Jerez, but admitted he was still "struggling" in the early laps to be quick through Jerez's fast turns.
"Our goal was to make it onto the podium and we didn't [achieve this], this is the negative," added Dovizioso, who is now three points of the championship lead in third in the standings.
"The other negative part is the confirmation of our [lack of] speed in the fast corner. I was struggling in the beginning of the race, I couldn't keep that speed.
"We worked quite well during the practice, our speed was quite good but only the race can show the real reality [of form].
"I thought [we might] have a smaller limit in that place [fast turns], but our speed wasn't enough to stay in front.
"At the end the speed wasn't bad and the gap in the end wasn't bad. So it is positive. I think we are faster than last year, but there are more competitors in a better situation than last year so it is easy to make fourth like today.
"There are positive things, but we wanted something more from here and our goal was a podium, and we couldn't [achieve it]."