Anyone who watched Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi would most likely agree that the racing between Fiat Yamaha teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi was very satisfying, awakening the true competitive spirit of MotoGP.
But although the tight battle for the final spot on the podium behind race winner Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso may have pleased thousands of motorcycle racing fans, it didn’t please one man involved in it, series leader Jorge Lorenzo.
The Yamaha duo contested for third right from the first of 24 laps, with the two bumping a few times and swapping the lead numerous times during the final two laps at Twin Ring Motegi. B
But the nine-time world champion got the final spot, making for the second race out of 14 this season that Lorenzo didn’t finish on the podium. Lorenzo disccused his unhappiness in an official video from MotoGP.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “The show is great for the people to enjoy and the business of motorcycle racing, it’s fantastic, but when you are a rider who is on a MotoGP bike which gets up to 300 km/h in the straight and 180-200 km/h in the corners and you are feeling the other rider touch you it’s not a great feeling or a good emotion because you know you are putting your life at risk.”
“The three or four moves I made on Valentino I felt were correct and fair. On the other hand his moves were legal but on the limit, from my point of view. We have seen the way he likes to fight, it happened before with Gibernau, then with Stoner, and now with me. Maybe in the future his rivals will get a little bit mad and we will act like he usually does!”
“We are teammates, I am fighting for the Riders’ Championship but we are both fighting for the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championship as well and we have to remember this. I am disappointed to miss the podium of course because I wanted one at Yamaha’s home, but this is racing.”
After taking fourth, Lorenzo has extended his lead to 69 points over Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa underwent surgery on his left shoulder after wrecking during practice on Friday in Japan. Honda reported Pedrosa’s accelerator became stuck, and the Spaniard had to ditch the RC212V.
Pedrosa is hoping to make it back for Sepang this weekend, the second of three back-to-back races (Motegi, Sepang, Phillip Island), but due to a healing double fracture on his left collarbone, his return within a week’s time of the crash is doubtful.
If Lorenzo has yet another great result at Sepang, and Pedrosa doesn’t return, he may likely be able to seal up his debut World Championship title. But if his teammate Rossi is anywhere near, MotoGP fans are sure to see another intense battle just for a few points, although Rossi has no chance of a world title.
If Rossi engages in another exciting race with Lorenzo, it’ll be for the true spirit of moto racing, one that brings that pure excitement to anything involving the famed VR 46.