Jorge Lorenzo admitted he got out of jail after he almost threw away 20 precious points in a rain-lashed Sepang MotoGP race.
Just moments before the scheduled 20-lap race was red flagged on lap 14 as torrential rain battered the Sepang track, Lorenzo had survived a massive fright when he lost the front of his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine at the final turn.
Had the Spaniard tumbled off into the gravel, he would be travelling to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix with just a three-point lead over in-form title rival Dani Pedrosa, who enjoyed a major career breakthrough to win the first wet race of his career.
Lorenzo though will take to the track in Phillip Island with a cushion of 23-points and if he were to win this Sunday’s race, then he will become a double MotoGP world champion.
Lorenzo says he has been riding as hard as possible to achieve the best result without letting thoughts of the championship occupy his mind too much.
He said: “All I can do is be as fast as possible with this bike. In these conditions the other Yamahas struggle a lot but I kept focussed and this second place is very good for us. I have pressure but it would be more if Dani was only three points behind or even in front. If I crash in Australia the situation changes but I hope not to crash and get on the podium again.”
Lorenzo said the timing of the red flag to stop yesterday’s race was correct, though many felt his arm waving to signal he wanted it halted put unnecessary pressure on Race Direction to act.
He added: “I think it was the right time to stop the race, or maybe one corner before as this would have been better for my health. It was very difficult and when it started raining I didn't feel very safe because I have a lot to lose and not so much to win. But I tried to be very focussed from the first corner. When I couldn’t change my rear (soft) tyre on the grid I thought it was going to be a tough race for us. But I tried to be very smooth with the throttle and save the tyre as much as possible. But Dani with the hard tyre in the middle of the race, he had an advantage and he started to be much faster than me. I couldn’t follow him with the rear starting to slide and when it started to rain a lot I struggled so much. I almost crash in the last corner and I was very lucky to finish second.”
For seven pages of coverage from the Sepang race, see the October 24 issue of Motor Cycle News.