Valentino Rossi has paid a glowing tribute to reigning MotoGP world champion and 2013 factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo after being reunited with the Spaniard for the start of winter testing in Sepang last week.
Rossi said Lorenzo was now the most complete rider on the MotoGP grid and an even bigger threat on a factory YZR-M1 than he was when the pair were bitter rivals between 2008 and 2010.
Lorenzo finished last week’s three-day Sepang test with the second best time behind Dani Pedrosa, while Rossi made a brilliant return to Yamaha by finishing third on the timesheets.
And the 33-year-old reckons beating Lorenzo in 2013 could be one of the toughest challenges of his career.
When asked by MCN how much Lorenzo had improved since they rode together in 2010, Rossi said: “Now he is perfect because he is very fast in all conditions, very fast from the beginning of the race, and he doesn't make mistakes. Between 2008 and 2010 Lorenzo was already very, very strong but now he is better."
Lorenzo did a 13-lap long run on the final day, which showed once again his trademark consistency, with a best lap of 2.00.802 coming on the 12th lap.
That was less than 0.4s off his best time during the entire test and Rossi said he could not live with that pace at present.
“Jorge did a great long run at a very high level. If I tried to do a simulation then I can’t go fast like him, so I have to work, “added Rossi For an 11-page special from the Sepang MotoGP test, see the February 13 issue of Motor Cycle News.