Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo has joined former team-mate Valentino Rossi in acknowledging rising star Maverick Viñales as a threat for this year’s MotoGP championship.
Viñales has replaced Lorenzo at Yamaha this season, having spent the last two years with Suzuki, culminating in fourth place overall in the standings and victory at the British Grand Prix.
Lorenzo, Rossi and Marc Márquez have locked out the leading positions in recent seasons, with Márquez taking three titles, Lorenzo collecting the 2015 crown, and Rossi finishing runner-up for three straight years.
Rossi last week labelled Viñales as a threat for this year’s championship, a sentiment echoed by Lorenzo.
“Each person does their own work and we all work for ourselves,” Lorenzo is quoted by the official MotoGP website.
“Rossi didn’t give me anything when I arrived and likewise Maverick isn’t getting on a readymade bike.
“Everyone saw the results of the Valencia test and he [Viñales] was fastest both days. It’s obvious he has talent, ambition and is eager.
“Along with Márquez and Rossi he’s one of the favourites for the championship.”
Lorenzo also expanded on his first experience of Ducati’s Desmosedici, having sampled the bike during post-season testing at Valencia last November.
“It was a big shock,” he commented.
“More than anything, before getting on the bike, seeing the garage all in red with different people and sponsors… it made a big impact on me, but I got used to it bit by bit.
“Getting on the bike made a big impact too, because there are a lot of differences compared to my previous bike.
“But I saw there were a lot of positives, as well as some things to improve.
“I adapted well to the Yamaha from the first moment, it was a good connection from the start.
“The Ducati is different. People thought I’d find a nervous bike that was difficult to ride, but the truth is it goes well. I felt comfortable and it went around corners well.”