Without a top ten before his Assen back injuries, Jorge Lorenzo's Repsol Honda results have taken a step down since his return, with a best finish of 14th place and 46-seconds from victory.

A lack of fitness caused by the injury layoff is no doubt hampering him over race distance. But Lorenzo has struggled even more in terms of single-lap speed, qualifying just 21st, 18th and 19th since his comeback.

"The positive clearly is the victory and in the way it was achieved," said Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig, after Lorenzo's team-mate Marc Marquez took another dominant win at Aragon on Sunday, putting him on the verge of a sixth MotoGP title.

"The negative is that Jorge is not having an easy time with our bike, we are trying to help him as much as we can. We know he is strong but unfortunately it has not been going as expected in these races. We need to find a different solution for the following Grand Prix.”

It was while sidelined by the mid-summer back injuries that news broke of shock talks between Lorenzo and a possible return to Ducati - despite a two-year HRC contract.

The Ducati option vanished when Jack Miller was re-signed, leaving Lorenzo to describe the episode in vague terms upon his Silverstone return. Admitting to 'doubts' due to the injuries, the triple MotoGP champion said he then 'felt commitment to stick with the challenge to be competitive with the Honda' once his health improved.

But given the results since, rumours continue that Lorenzo may not be on a Repsol Honda (or indeed any MotoGP bike) next season, Speedweek.com reporting that HRC test rider Stefan Bradl is now 'being seriously considered' should an early split come to fruition.

"A lot of people ask me this question and for this moment the give-up possibility doesn't appear in my mind and I have a two-year contract with Honda," Lorenzo said at Aragon.

"So for the moment I want to keep [going] and let's see if we can improve in these races."

 

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