Valentino Rossi has warned that Jorge Lorenzo should not be counted out of the 2018 MotoGP title fight yet.
Lorenzo had a disastrous start to 2018, failing to finish in the top 10 in the first four races, but the Spaniard seemed to have turned his campaign around last time out by taking his first Ducati win at Mugello.
He also appears to be in top form in Barcelona, setting the pace on Friday.
Although Lorenzo is 54 points behind championship leader Marc Marquez, Rossi reckons his former Yamaha teammate shouldn't be ruled out as a potential title contender this year.
When asked if the three-time MotoGP champion could still feature at the sharp end of the standings, Rossi said: "Absolutely, yes. To remove Lorenzo from the fight for the championship would be stupid.
"Also because between Marquez and me there are about 20 points, but then the fight for second place is very tight.
"He was very good at Mugello and it could be a turning point in his championship because here too it seems to me that he's doing a bit better.
"When Lorenzo is in shape and feels very good on the bike, he's very strong."
Lorenzo himself suggested a championship comeback was not out of the question in the lead-up to Barcelona, stating that he has "all the ingredients" to perform.
However he stressed that he has to maintain his Mugello form on a consistent basis.
"Well, in motorcycle world, many times we saw incredible things in points, no?
"Riders who have 60 points of disadvantage or 70 points of disadvantage recover all the points and win the championship. But it's very difficult, no?
"We just won one race. We don't know what we can achieve in the future.
"We arrive here in a track that I like, I won many times here with the Yamaha, we make a good test and we are in a sweet moment, but we have to keep demonstrating.
"I think I have now all the ingredients to do it well, but MotoGP is now more than ever, so close, no?
"So close, the quality of the riders, of the bikes is very high, and win races in a consecutive way like before is much more difficult."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont