Inspired by a thrilling Mugello victory battle, Jorge Lorenzo 'has his confidence back' heading to his closest home MotoGP round at Catalunya this weekend.
The double MotoGP champion has suffered his worst start to a premier-class season, with two podiums from the first six events, but a runner-up finish at Mugello provided a timely reminder of Lorenzo's talents.
The Spaniard was just a fraction away from inflicting a 2014 defeat on reigning champion Marc Marquez, the pair constantly passing each other during the final seven laps before the Honda rider won by just 0.121s.
“In Mugello I tried my best, I felt stronger and I think we did a really good job,” said Lorenzo, physically weakened by winter surgery and still adapting to the stiffer 2014 tyres.
“We were really close to the victory and my physical condition improved a lot compared to the last races. The bike also worked well and I guess if we can do a step ahead either with the bike or my physical condition we will fight again for the victory.
“Now we are heading to Montmeló, one of my favourite tracks like Mugello and I would like at least to be on the podium.”
Lorenzo stood on the top step of the rostrum last year at Catalunya, with Marquez in a close third place behind his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo's fourth victory at Barcelona, and third in the MotoGP class, made him the most successful Spanish rider at the circuit.
“Last year we could find a good pace for the race and I remember we won in front of the two main rivals, achieving a great win.
“Hopefully this season we can fight once again; that would be so special considering Montmeló is like my home race. I'm looking forward to racing in Barcelona in front of all the crowd!”
Movistar Yamaha team manager Massimo Meregalli added: “Catalunya is another track where both riders have a really good history and it's now Jorge's home race. He arrives feeling good after such a close finish in Mugello; he has his confidence back.”
Lorenzo is now up to fourth in the world championship, but 85 points behind Marquez and 32 points behind team-mate Valentino Rossi.