Jorge Lorenzo said his battle to win a second MotoGP world title in 2012 was ‘tougher than anyone can imagine’ after a second place in yesterday’s Australian Grand Prix secured him the championship with one race remaining.
After main rival Dani Pedrosa tumbled out of the lead at Turn 4 on lap two, Lorenzo only needed to finish 13th to lift his first world title since 2010 and to capture the inaugural 1000cc crown for Yamaha.
With Casey Stoner untouchable on his way to a stunning farewell victory in front of a record home crowd at Phillip Island, Lorenzo ended the 27-lap race in a safe second that clinched a fourth title in the last five for Yamaha.
Lorenzo’s celebrations were almost eclipsed by the jubilant scenes that greeted Stoner’s sixth win in a row but the Spaniard was relieved to have finally clinched the title after coming under an onslaught from Honda in the second half of the season.
Honda has won nine out of the last 11 races but the key to Lorenzo’s success has been the fact that when he’s finished he has not been lower than second.
Yet another second on Sunday ensured he opened up an unassailable 43-point over Pedrosa heading to the final round in Valencia.
But the 25-year-old said he had not become too occupied with thinking about the championship once he saw Pedrosa lose the front right in front of him on only the second lap.
He said: “I was so focused to try and follow Casey and for Cal (Crutchlow) not to catch me that I didn't think about the championship until the last lap when I passed the finish line. I didn't think about the championship too much because at this track you can’t let your mind stray from the next corner. But I was feeling a great emotion. This year was very tough, tougher than anyone can imagine. I had to be very focused and very concentrated and I suffered a lot to make it."
Once Pedrosa had tumbled out, Lorenzo said he had no reason to try and hunt down a formidable Stoner, who made it six wins in a row in front of a record of just over 53,000 fans.
He added: “I was quite comfortable during the weekend to be in second place because Casey was in another world, so I always thought I had a great chance to become world champion here. But I had to fight and go very quick for the whole race. I knew that Casey was going to risk and go for it. I made a good start and was first in Turn 1 and then Dani overtook me. At first I thought it was Casey, but then Casey overtook me. Then Dani braked too deep and made a mistake and it was easier for me. One part of me wanted to be safe and be world champion while another part of me wanted to catch Casey and make some pressure and give him the opportunity to make a mistake. But it wasn't like that. He was very focused and very fast, so I had to be second. But this was good because I won my second world championship and the feeling is really amazing and fantastic.”
For more coverage from the Phillip Island Grand Prix, see the October 31 issue of Motor Cycle News.