Jorge Lorenzo admits he didn't foresee Yamaha's MotoGP decline when he left the team at the end of 2016, but also believes the Iwata factory will return to the top 'sooner rather than later',

Lorenzo celebrated 44 wins and three MotoGP titles with Yamaha from 2008 until the end of 2016, when he departed for Ducati.

Yamaha then took four wins with Valentino Rossi and new signing Maverick Vinales, but has been winless since Assen 2017.

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On the verge of a record 23-race win drought, the factory is struggling badly at Aragon this weekend, Vinales qualifying in eleventh (then given a three-place penalty for riding slowly on the racing line) and Rossi down in 18th place, his worst dry performance since 2006.

"I think MotoGP is a little bit like soccer in the way that it's cyclical," said Lorenzo, who will start Sunday's race from pole position.

"Barcelona or Real Madrid can have three or four bad years, but then sooner or later they come back. Yamaha has the history and the potential to come back stronger and I think more soon than later they will arrive.

"2016 was a difficult year, because we started strong, with the electronics, then Honda improved a little bit and could catch us. We were a bit inconsistent, but we were very strong in some tracks and I got four victories. But we were stronger in 2015, obviously.

"But as I said before, it's a cyclical thing and Yamaha will come back sooner or later."