Jorge Lorenzo admits being "too slow" in parts of the Qatar Grand Prix shows he is still not prepared to challenge at the top end of MotoGP with Ducati.
In his first outing with Ducati after nine seasons and three championships with Yamaha, Lorenzo started 12th at the Losail circuit based on practice times after qualifying was cancelled, and could only manage 11th in the race.
Lorenzo was delayed by an off at Turn 4 on the opening lap, but made his way back up to ninth, only to fade in the closing stages and drop back.
The Spaniard conceded it was a "disappointing" start, complicated by his lowly starting position and track conditions that had been affected by rain over the weekend.
"The start was very good, I recovered three or four positions, I was behind [Dani] Pedrosa and Valentino [Rossi]," Lorenzo said.
"Probably without this [off] in the fourth corner I could stay with them at the beginning, until the middle of the race.
"For sure I was not able to keep the same pace all the race, because when I started dropping the rear [tyre], I was not able to stay in the 1m56s.
"But at the beginning, I struggled so much to stay in the 1m56s - I was in 1m58s, 1m57s - but little by little with warmer tyres I was going to this time.
"I did five or six laps in this lap time, very close and almost faster than the top guys.
"But in a lot of moments in the race I was too slow to finish closer [to the leaders].
"Conditions don't help, but to be honest I'm still not prepared to fight for something big."
Lorenzo set the 11th fastest lap of the race, half-a-second slower than team-mate Andrea Dovizioso managed on his way to second place in the season opener.
That Dovizioso has been with Ducati since 2013 helped when the softer rear tyre the pair used went off over the 20 laps, Lorenzo believes.
"He started some more rows in front, so that for sure helps," he said.
"He didn't make the [mistake] where I lost a few seconds, and he has more experience, especially a big difference with old tyres.
"When the rear tyre starts to drop, he is able to ride much better, probably using more the rear brake or applying it differently."
Ducati will complete a private test at Jerez before the next round of the championship at Termas de Rio Hondo next month, and Lorenzo says he knows he needs to change more as a rider.
"I think today we were worse than we are," he said. "We are not so bad.
"I tried to do the best, but sometimes the best is bad.
"I didn't do a good race, because of some mistakes, some bad feelings.
"You always try to do the best, and today the best gives me this 11th position, 20 seconds from the win."