Valentino Rossi believes factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo was the strongest rider during the 2013 MotoGP pre-season campaign, despite only setting the fastest time in one of four winter tests.
The Spaniard finished yesterday’s final session in Jerez with the third best time and the only time he has found himself at the top of the timesheets was when he headed the second Sepang test in Malaysia last month.
The reigning world champion though has been mightily impressive once again and it has been the speed and consistency of his pace that has caught Rossi’s eye.
Lorenzo has done three race simulations in testing, all of which highlighted the consistency that he has become famed for.
He did another very impressive long run in Jerez yesterday and like in the 2012 pre-season, he has done way more race simulations than anybody else.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was fastest in the first Sepang test in early February and rookie sensation Marc Marquez was in inspired form to take the spoils in the private HRC and Yamaha test at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
But Rossi, who was denied top spot by British rider Cal Crutchlow in Spain yesterday, reckons Lorenzo has been the pre-season’s standout rider.
The 34-year-old said: “Marquez makes something impressive and he will be very fast. Pedrosa is also fast but I think who does the best work during all the testing is Lorenzo.
He was always very fast. Austin was also very difficult for him but in Sepang and Jerez he was very strong. But I can fight with the three top guys and that is very good. I know Qatar and Austin could be difficult races but when we return to Europe we have a lot of great tracks where usually me and the Yamaha are very competitive.”
For an exclusive interview with Marquezz and more from Rossi from the Jerez test, see the March 27 issue of MCN.