Both Iannone and Lorenzo switched one works team to another in the off-season, and both so far have been roundly outperformed by their respective well-established teammates.

Lorenzo has yet to crack the top 10 as a Honda rider while Marc Marquez leads the championship, and likewise Iannone – who like Lorenzo has been hindered by injury – has only seven points to fellow Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro’s 27.

When asked to compare their respective adaptations, Iannone reckoned the task Lorenzo faced was made easier by the fact there was less of a responsibility of him to improve the Honda bike – which has won the last three riders’ titles in Marquez’s hands.

“Today in MotoGP the grid is very tight, and with two or three tenths you make an incredible leap,” Iannone said in Mugello.

“We have to lead the development, we have important responsibilities on our shoulders, so in my opinion it’s a little easier for Jorge.

“He’s a great champion, very talented, he has a very strong teammate, but above all that he’s riding the bike that has won the world title, so it could click at any moment for him to be competitive. In my opinion, he’ll manage it, there’s no doubt about it.

“For us, it’s a little more difficult. Not only do you have to adapt to the bike and understand many things, but you also have to give good directions and pass on the right things to improve the bike.

“For me at the moment the bike is very physical, it’s a been a bit of a surprise to me, but I always do my best. All the guys are working for me and believe in me, and that’s the best situation.”

Having expressed a desire to have a greater influence on the development of the Honda bike, Lorenzo visited the marque’s Asakadai factory in Japan in the aftermath of the Italian GP.

The three-time MotoGP champion described the trip as “very interesting, adding: “We were able to work on many things, some which will help this weekend [in Barcelona] and some for the future.”

Meanwhile, Iannone said he was now increasingly keen to take the fight to teammate Espargaro, despite having previously suggested that he was content to focus on long-term development of the RS-GP over immediate performance.

“At the moment he is our target,” Iannone said of Espargaro. “Because we have the same bike, and after six-seven races I want to start to fight with him.

“In any case, we continue to try to develop the bike and improve some thing. We never give up and we try to recover a lot the situation from next race, we try to close the gap.

“I learn a little bit more the bike. In this race the bike is really strong, really physical, so I’m a little bit surprised, but in any case always I try my best, and all the guys work for me and push a lot, believe in me, and this is the best situation.”

Asked if he expected to have new parts to try in the post-Barcelona official test, he said: “I don’t know at the moment. I want to live day by day because it’s the most important at the moment.

“I struggle a little bit with this bike and I want to continue to learn, learn, and learn. We have many things to try and adjust, but we need time.”

Additional reporting by Matteo Nugnes

Andrea Iannone, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Andrea Iannone, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images