Valentino Rossi has conceded that his factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo has been “too fast” in the last three MotoGP races, won in succession by the Spaniard.
Dominant victories at Jerez, Le Mans and in Sunday’s Mugello race have allowed Lorenzo to close the gap in the championship to Rossi to just six points.
Although the Italian has been able to minimise the damage inflicted to his points lead by making the podium at the last three races, he says Lorenzo’s scorching form on the opposite side of the Yamaha garage has become a concern - likening the situation to the duo's fierce battle in 2009.
"It's exactly the same situation, because in 2009 I had a five-point lead, now it's six, so we are very close," said Rossi after the race.
“We have to do something to catch Jorge, because in the last three races he was too fast.
“He was able to use the maximum potential of the bike, so we have to work hard because he is very strong this year.”
Front end source of woes
Elaborating on his struggles at his home race, where he finished third behind runaway victor Lorenzo and Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, Rossi said he was unable to find the right feeling for the front end of his works M1 machine, a particular disadvantage at a circuit where braking is critical.
“The race was like in Jerez, where I never found the right set-up,” explained the 36-year-old in the post-race press conference.
“At Le Mans I was strong, I could fight, but here I suffered with the front.”
“We tried to improve it for the race but it wasn’t enough, and especially in the first part of the race I was very slow.”