On the back of missing out on his first shot at victory as a Ducati rider, Jorge Lorenzo enters the 14th round of 2017 at Aragon with high expectations, and feels this can be another strong weekend for the Bologna factory.

Lorenzo had established a considerable lead early in the last outing at Misano before a brief lapse in concentration led to a spectacular fall. Aragon, a track around which the Majorcan has won on two occasions, represents another shot at breaking his winning duck when riding in red.

“Yes, they [expectations] are high,” he said. “Aragon and Motegi could be good tracks for us, especially Motegi. But I believe that Aragon can be good, even if for example, the first year we raced here, in 2010, Ducati was so fast, Casey won, Nicky third, he took third place from me.

“But from that moment until now, it was more difficult for Ducati, especially the last years. So I'm very curious to see what level of competitiveness this bike can have. For sure we will be competitive, but I would like to know what level.

“Especially if you are see that you are getting better and better, and you are getting closer and closer to the goal, which is to win with this bike. We are close, and in Misano, I could maybe even make it happen, but I crashed. So we have already had chances to win in the rain, but also I believe in the dry we can also fight for it in some races. Hopefully here also.”

On whether Lorenzo was surprised by ex-team-mate Valentino Rossi’s decision to return so soon after injury, the Majorcan answered, “I didn't expect it some days ago, because he is quite far from the first position in the championship.

“He hasn't lost the championship yet, but it will be very difficult for him to recover all the points, especially after the injury, this is clear. Of course, in his mind he will not want to lose the last chance to do it, and for sure in his mind he is still playing in the championship, so this for sure will affect him.

“But I think he thinks, why not try on Friday? He tried with a street bike so he has some feedback there. So why not? For sure he will be a little bit more careful than with normal conditions. It's not so many days of recovery, but why not try?”

So when do you give up on a championship? “For sure the possibility for Rossi to win the championship is not very high. He knows, he's not stupid. But it's not zero. He's coming to a track that's normally not the best for him. Still six races to go, everything can happen, as we saw in Silverstone with [Marc] Márquez' engine breaking.

“The competitiveness of the championship also helps to gain or a lot of points or lose a lot of points. For sure he feels better than expected after the injury. For sure this sport is not the same as being a soccer player or a 100m sprinter, that you need completely your feet or legs. So I don't know. He's the one who feels if his body is capable of racing or not."

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