Jorge Lorenzo may have suffered a late defeat at the hands of MotoGP title leader Casey Stoner in Sunday's US GP, but his 'bulldog' spirit will make the Spaniard tough to beat in the championship.

That's the view of triple 500cc world champion 'King' Kenny Roberts, who was present at Laguna Seca as part of Yamaha's 50th anniversary of grand prix road racing celebrations - and saw Lorenzo pick himself up from a huge practice crash to claim pole position for the race.

Lorenzo then led for 26 of the 32 laps on Sunday, before he lost out to Repsol Honda rider Stoner, who is now 20 points head of reigning champion Lorenzo with eight rounds to go.

"Once Jorge gets his teeth into this thing, he's not going to let go," Reuters quotes Roberts as saying.

"He's like a bulldog wrapped around your ankle. They are going to have a hard time getting this championship away from him because he's pretty head-strong."

Lorenzo previously attended the Roberts Ranch to try and improve his riding style, especially in the wet, using dirt track bikes.

"Jorge has big potential," said 59-year-old Roberts. "He's been on my ranch, three years ago I think, training the way that Wayne [Rainey] and everybody used to train on dirt bikes.

"I talked to Jorge in LA and he wants to come back to my ranch and do it again. So there are some similarities [with myself] I see in him.

"The riding style that worked for us still works for these guys, and for Jorge probably more than any of the other young guys.

"When we are working with him, he's a little bulldog."

Lorenzo has won two races this year, compared with five for Stoner.

But Lorenzo has also scored 75 points - the equivalent of three race wins - more than the next best Yamaha rider in the championship, team-mate Ben Spies (sixth).

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