Valentino Rossi admitted that Jorge Lorenzo’s Dutch injury disaster has give him more motivation but extra pressure to try and battle with factory Honda duo Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez in Assen.
Lorenzo is out of Saturday’s historic Dutch TT with a broken left collarbone after the reigning world champion fell heavily in a rain-soaked second practice session at Assen.
After taking back-to-back victories in Mugello and Barcelona to cut Pedrosa’s title lead to just seven-points, Lorenzo’s absence has dealt his hopes of defending the MotoGP crown a big blow.
And nine-times world champion Rossi said the onus was now on him to try and take points off Repsol Honda pair Pedrosa and Marquez in Saturday’s 26-lap race.
Lorenzo is expected to be fit for the forthcoming German round at the Sachsenring but 34-year-old Rossi said: “Now there is some extra motivation and some extra pressure because unfortunately Jorge had a big crash and is injured and cannot race, so I will be the only factory Yamaha. I will have to try and make a good result in front of the Hondas for the championship."
That will be a tough task for Rossi, who has only finished in front of both Pedrosa and Marquez once all season when he stormed from seventh to second on his Yamaha return in Qatar’s night race.
Rossi said he had seen Lorenzo’s fast crash on a TV replay and he said: “I think he touched the white line in a very fast point, it is 5th gear there and it was a big crash. It is a pity for Jorge and our team because he is coming off two victories in a row.
He was riding very well and he was in a good moment. He has a broken collarbone and this injury is usually not very bad and I think he can be ready for the Sachsenring and will lose just one race. So nothing is closed for the championship.”
The next two races at the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca are tracks dominated by left corners that will inevitably put an extra strain on Lorenzo’s recovering and weakened shoulder.
He was due to fly back to Barcelona tomorrow (Friday) to undergo surgery and Rossi added: “For sure it will be difficult for Jorge but I don't think the left hand tracks make a lot of difference. In any case Germany and Laguna will be hard for Jorge because they are just seven days apart. He will suffer and not be at 100% but usually a collarbone after 10 days you are OK. I hope he races in Germany in good condition."