Jorge Lorenzo believes the reason Honda is defeating Yamaha in this year's MotoGP title race is because HRC took more risks with its 2011 design.
The reigning champion thinks there were signs in late 2010 that Honda was poised for a breakthrough year, and suggested that its success drought since Nicky Hayden's 2006 title had led to HRC taking a more aggressive approach than 2008-'10 champion squad Yamaha.
"I think the Honda was extremely fast and very competitive from the last part of last year, and this year even more," said Lorenzo. "They improved one step at the end of last year, and one step more by the beginning of this year.
"We won three world titles in a row, all three crowns, so it's logical that we stayed a little bit more calm and didn't take so many risks. Yamaha has won so much and done a great job, but, at this moment in this category, [Honda] is a little bit farther away at most of the tracks."
He admitted he feels fortunate that Casey Stoner's championship lead is not larger than 44 points given how fast Honda has been this year. Lorenzo managed to interrupt Stoner's winning run and claw a few points back with victory at Misano earlier this month, before Honda struck back by dominating the most recent race at Aragon – leaving Stoner in a commanding championship position.
"I think the surprise is to be only 44 points behind Casey," said Yamaha team leader Lorenzo. "He has dominated the championship and he's winning a lot of races. To be only 44 points [adrift] is not too bad given how we are this year."
Lorenzo now feels he needs a miraculous turnaround in order to retain his crown.
"Our hope is that something happens – hopefully not bad for Casey, but to help us a little bit to keep on fighting," Lorenzo said. "But if this doesn't happen it's almost impossible."