Jorge Lorenzo has been a teammate and rival to seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi since Lorenzo started his premier-class career in 2008, but Lorenzo doesn't rate The Doctor as his most gifted opponent.
That nod of the visor goes to the retiring Casey Stoner.
"It's a little sad to lose a so special rider like Casey," Lorenzo said to Australian media. "He is the most talented rider I have ever seen on the World Championship."
Stoner will start his home Grand Prix for the last time this weekend at Phillip Island. Or will he? 2010 World Champion and current championship leader Lorenzo thinks Stoner may reconsider his shock retirement at age 27.
"For sure, now he is a little tired of racing, but you never know what can happen after one year, two years without competing without tasting the flavor of racing," Lorenzo said. "Maybe after one, two years he'll (find retirement) boring, and he'll come back. Hopefully."
Another champion, five-time 500cc world title winner Mick Doohan, also thinks this could be just a sojourn from the premier class for his fellow Australian.
"I wouldn't write off the chances of seeing him in a couple of years' time, when he thinks he has some more years left, and do a Michael Schumacher," Doohan said.
But Schumacher's tale could be cautionary for Stoner. Schuey retired as a seven-time Formula One World Champion and the most successful driver in the sport's history after the 2006 season, his 15th in F1. He returned to F1 in 2010 and was winless over the next three seasons, announcing last month that he was retiring again after this season.
But there is a big difference: Schumacher was 37 when he first retired from F1, 10 years older than Stoner.