Jorge Lorenzo concluded the opening half of the MotoGP season just 13-points from team-mate Valentino Rossi and with more wins than any other rider.
But as the season restarts this weekend in Indianapolis, the Spaniard is also keeping an eye on reigning champion Marc Marquez.
“Obviously Valentino is at the head of the championship. We are 13 points behind so the favourite is him and the one that we have to focus to beat is him, but also Marc is coming strong again,” Lorenzo said on Thursday.
“He won the last race and it looks like they find something to solve their problems. So for sure they will be competitive like last year. But I think we have a good bike this year and we have to take profit of it. This track is also a little more flowing [after last year's changes] and we have a great opportunity.
“Our bike is working very well this year. We have a very good dynamic. Maybe not in the last two races, but in general the last five or six races have been positive for us so we arrive here after a nice race from last year, with a lot of motivation and I'm very excited to start the weekend.”
After leading every single race lap at Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello and Catalunya, Lorenzo sunk to third and fourth places at Assen and Sachsenring.
“In Assen especially, from the beginning I didn't feel the same way than the previous four races. The tyres were a little different, this round also,” he said.
As previously highlighted
, Lorenzo's form is often linked to the rear tyre allocation and whether a special edge-grip enhancement is available.
In the case of Indianapolis, Bridgestone told Crash.net
that this weekend's hard compound tyre - raced by all factory Yamaha and Honda riders last season - will have the edge treatment.
Lorenzo is usually most effective when the medium compound is combined with edge treatment, but feels the high grip offered by the new-for-2014 Indianapolis surface should help his cause and is encouraged by last year's runner-up result.
“The asphalt is new and maybe a little more grippy so we will probably have less problems than the previous [races]. It should be the last race with these tyres and I want to have a good result like last year.”
Last year Lorenzo worked his way from sixth on the opening lap to finish second to Marquez by 1.8s.
Lorenzo's third place in the inaugural 2008 race at Indianapolis was his first wet weather podium in grand prix racing. He won the event by over nine-seconds the following year and has been on the podium a further four times from five starts.