Rossi: Lorenzo has stepped up this year

Valentino Rossi believes that his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo's improved performance this season is down to increased levels of motivation and concentration.

After a poor start to the season in which Lorenzo failed to make the podium in the opening three races, the Spaniard bounced back strongly to win the next four races, and his since gone on to register a fifth race victory and two further podium finishes.

This recovery sees Lorenzo sitting in second position in the World Championship standings, 23 points behind Rossi with five races remaining in the 2015 campaign.

Lorenzo made a strong signal of intent on Friday when he smashed the lap record at the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón during free practice, setting a time 0.683s quicker than that of his team-mate.

Rossi feels that Lorenzo has made key improvements this season which have seen him deliver strong showings throughout a race weekend.

“I think in the last races Jorge made another step and he is in a great shape. He is a lot stronger than last year,” Rossi explained. “Because for example last year Jorge sometimes had some problems in practice like me, sometimes he was sixth or seventh, this year he is always strong and fast. 

“It means he arrives at a level of concentration that is very close to 100%. 

“About the skills of riding I think not a lot [has changed], but especially the motivation and concentration because in practice he is very strong. It is not just the speed, but when he works to find the right setting during practice he is anyway always very fast. This is very good because you can stay always in the top positions."

Lorenzo admitted that he feels like a different rider at Aragon this year, but he has insisted that it is not down to any changes that he has made.

“There‘s a big difference between how we have always felt here before and how we feel here now," he said. "The improvement is thanks to the work of the engineers, who improved the way the bikes work, so even at a difficult track such as Aragon we can be competitive."