MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo says that last Sundays' German race illustrated just how difficult it will be to beat the Hondas this year.
Despite finishing 15-seconds from victory, Lorenzo - who began the race tied with Casey Stoner - was handed an unexpected 14-point advantage over Stoner's team-mate and new nearest rival Dani Pedrosa, following the Australian's last lap tumble.
“In Sachsenring we saw how difficult it is going to be this year to fight with Casey and Dani,” said Lorenzo, who has won four races for Yamaha this year.
“It seems like they have improved in the last two races. They seem to have found something to give them a little more speed.
“But we are not so bad. Apart from Sachsenring, where we were not competitive all weekend. We didn't have time to improve the bike and I didn't go well with the tyres in the race.
“We hope to come back here, stronger and more faster,” he said of this weekend's Italian round.
Lorenzo is a former double Mugello winner and is especially looking forward to tackling the thrilling Tuscan circuit on the more potent 1000cc M1.
“I like [Mugello] very much. I won here in 2006 and in 2011. It's a track that can be good for my riding style and for Yamaha, and this year we won't lose so much on speed. So tomorrow we will see,” he said.
Despite a DNF at Assen, Lorenzo has scored 68 points more than the next best Yamaha rider, Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso.