"I know Dani from when I was twelve and he was 13-14. I remember when he was in the Movistar Cup and everyone was speaking about this little boy, much smaller than the rest, who was going very fast and winning races," Lorenzo smiled.

"So we were moving [up together], he was a little bit [higher] in the categories, one or two years before me, but we [raced] together in 125 and also 250. We started having great fights in 250! We had some contact and some polemics outside the track also with the press.

"Then in 2008 at the grand prix of Jerez, I made the pole position and he was second, there was also Colin Edwards in the press conference after qualifying. I wanted to shake his hand. But he rejected the hand! So I was really surprised, also Colin, we didn't understand.

"Then the next day we finished the race and the King of Spain was there. He loves MotoGP and motorbikes so he understood about the problem and the polemics, and he tried to solve the situation. And this picture, of me and Dani with the King trying to make us shake hands, became very popular and famous in Spain.

"So we shook hands, but we were not very happy about it, so we continued like little enemies together for some years. And then 2011-2012, the relationship started to grow up, get better and now we respect each other a lot.

"As you can imagine, we are very sad that he retired because we lost a great champion and a beautiful rider to watch ride on TV."

Lorenzo unsurprisingly selected Mugello as his personal highlight of the of the 2018 season.

"There is nothing more important than to win for Ducati in Italy. You can only make it better if you are Italian! It was a big emotion," he said.

Lorenzo, who finished the final test of 2018 in fifth place for Honda, will be back on the RC213V when testing resumes, at Sepang, in February.

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