Why 2013 will be more difficult for Lorenzo than 2012
Jorge set the bar extremely high last year through brilliant riding, aided and abetted by mistakes from the HRC boys as well as having lady luck on his side. If you read the post race transcripts you'll see Jorge had plenty of moments that could've ended in tears - even when he was supposedly just trying to reel the championship in. He had to ride that hard throughout the year. A very deserved champion though.
Pedrosa started 2012 unable to get to grips with the late additional weight added to his machine and then took time to adapt to the new Rossi spec rubber. But once he left port properly it was spinnaker up and full steam ahead. Only his unforced error at P.I robbed us of a thrilling season finale. Stoner made a mistake at the Sachsenring and then another at Indy with his crippling ankle break, but was always competitive.
A little additional weight and the same Rossi spec rubber in 2013 and the YMC boys are complaining about a lack of edge grip. Both ride in a very similar manner, high corner speed flow. Jorge just a faster smoother version of the world nr.6. This grip issue will be Jorge's main problem with his title defence if YMC do not get to grips with the problem early.
As Matt Oxley pointed out in an article last year the optimal cornering technique through the years has alternated between a 'U' and a 'V'. The 800's were predominantly about the U which prolonged Rossi's career no doubt. The re-introduction of the litre bikes with their additional acceleration has seen the curve move back towards a 'V' once more in conjunction with the softer sidewalled tyres. Although it was noticeable 2012 that Lorenzo has improved his ability to pick the bike up quickly coming out of corners, he's still not in Pedrosa's league. Marquez seems to have this ability instinctively. He was very dynamic on the Moto2 machine, earlier on the gas than others and got labelled a cheat for it?! He's got the requisite MotoGP style stamped all over him already.
Hark back to the Rainey and Cadalora Marlboro days. On a few occasions Cadalora could be untouchable with his wide sweeping lines. But it was hard accelerating Rainey that did most of the winning.
Both techniques work for sure and Lorenzo is an absolute master of his craft - I'd never rule him out of any race for the win. But for me the edge lies with the HRC boys for the reasons of rubber and riding style. The machines are inseparable performance wise.