The retired Lorenzo’s career went drastically downhill when he left Yamaha, the team synonymous with his heyday, in 2017.

He spent two unfulfilling seasons with Ducati, another high-profile rider who was unable to end their barren years without a MotoGP champion, before one year as Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate.

Hero to Zero for Marc Marquez | Crash MotoGP Podcast Ep82

"Maybe I would still be active if I had continued in Ducati,” Lorenzo said.

“The bike was strong then but it didn't run well in the corners, but we managed to fine-tune it and in 2018 it started to win. 

“With the current bike, imagine what I could have done! 

“Then with Gigi Dall'Igna there was a lot of harmony. 

“I could have duelled with Marc Marquez."

Andrea Dovizioso was runner-up in the MotoGP standings in both 2017 and 2018 - but it took until last year for Francesco Bagnaia to succeed where Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi failed, by becoming Ducati’s first MotoGP champion in 15 years.

Marquez’s rise to win six premier class championships was, in part, a reason that held Ducati back from reclaiming the summit of the sport.

This year, Marquez’s hopes have hit a major early hurdle.

He has completed just two grand prix laps after crashing into Miguel Oliveira in Portimao, then missing Argentina with a resulting injury.

In Marquez’s absence, Ducati riders have reestablished their dominance. Factory rider Bagnaia, and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi, have won the opening two grands prix.

Lorenzo said about Marquez: "He still has two or three tenths more than the others at most circuits, but if your bike is a second lower you will never win.

"Here the rider counts more than in F1 but with so much electronics if the bike is not fast you can't do anything.”

The Grand Prix of the Americas is next weekend.