Jorge Lorenzo is pumped up and ready for the 2009 season.
Sure to be one of the key players this weekend at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar Jorge Lorenzo is looking forward to returning to the scene of his superb MotoGP debut at the beginning of last season.
Pole position and second place in the race at your first GP is not a bad effort and the ultra-confident Lorenzo would surely be happy with a repeat result. In the preseason test visit to Qatar early in March Lorenzo was also second overall and he counts the desert track as one of his favourites.
"Losail is one of the tracks where I am strongest," says the 21 year-old Spaniard. "It has a place in history as the host venue of the first ever night race and the floodlights there make it different to anywhere else. It’s a great place to start the season and if I can get back on the podium there it will be even better."
The 2008 rookie of the year went on to preview the season in more detail as he undertook a revealing Q & A session, just days ahead of his second premier class campaign…
Q. How are you feeling after the first few tests with the new Yamaha M1 during the preseason?
A. "I’m doing well and I really want the races to start. It wasn’t easy with the new bike at first, but now I have started to go fast with the Bridgestone tyres. The last day of the Qatar test and both days in Jerez were good. I’m really up for it now, with the reduction in tests and the long winter break I really want to get back on the bike and start racing."
Q. What do you think about the new Bridgestone tyres and the removal of Friday morning free practice from the time schedules?
A. "The new tyres are really different to the ones I was using last year but I’m gradually getting used to them. The Bridgestone front tyre is really impressive and when you are on the brakes you really notice the difference. From a selfish point of view I don’t think losing Friday mornings will help me much because I like to put in plenty of laps, but it will help the championship financially."
Q. Do you think the tyres were talked about too much last year?
A. "It was logical because the situation was not normal. I think Dorna took the right decision even though it was a break from the tradition of tyre competition. Hopefully we will see an even more open championship with more overtaking and more excitement at the end of the races."
Q. Do you feel more confident as you go into your second year in MotoGP?
A. "Well I obviously have a lot more experience after everything I went through last year. Last year I felt good right from the start and I started to get good results straight away. But the tyres were such a big factor. When they worked well we were up front but when they didn’t I started crashing, as it took time to understand that I had to adapt my riding according to the conditions."
Q. What is you main objective this season?
A. "The main aim is to improve on the fourth place I got overall last year. It’s a good goal to have, to improve yourself as a rider each season."
Q. Who do you see as the favourites for the title?
A. "Logically you have to say those who were at the top last year. Valentino (Rossi) is the champion and (Casey) Stoner was the winner before him, so they are under the most pressure. (Dani) Pedrosa has a serious injury but I’m sure he will be fighting for victories again. That is how you have to see things logically, but we all know that anything can happen when the races start."