Yamaha confident in Jorge Lorenzo’s MotoGP title chances

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Jorge Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha team boss is confident the Spaniard can mount a serious assault on the 2009 MotoGP world championship.

Lorenzo was fourth in his rookie campaign in 2008 during a season that was a mixture of youthful brilliance and painfully spectacular crashes.

Looking ahead to the new season in which Lorenzo is expected to challenge the likes of Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner for title glory, his Fiat Yamaha team boss Daniele Romagnoli said: “This year Jorge could win some races and achieve a number of podium finishes, as he showed last year.

“It won’t be easy to do so in every race. The championship will be challenging this year. It’s too early now to say he’ll win the title, but he has the ability to challenge for it. In 2009, we aim to improve on the excellent result achieved in 2008.

“Doing so means hard work and a high level of concentration. Moreover, achieving good results regularly will be crucial, whilst at the same time avoiding overdoing things and being satisfied with a good result.

“If you shoot for the stars you can achieve an excellent position among the first three. We should avoid getting zero points, because this would have very negative consequences and reduce our possibilities very much.”

Romagnoli believes that Lorenzo will also have to cope with extra pressure and expectation after his debut season.

He won in only his third race in Estoril and Romagnoli added: “Jorge will certainly have more pressure this year. Due to the excellent season he did, he’ll have to show he’s improved.

“It’ll be crucial for him to better manage official practices and races. Sometimes during official practices he felt under pressure from the beginning, wanting to ride fast from the outset and this led to errors.

“Anyway, the experience he gained during last season strengthened him and he’ll handle pressure much better this year.”

Romagnoli also believes that Lorenzo must take on board the lessons learned in 2008, including needing to adopt a more patient approach.

“Jorge needs to modify his working method, as he did during the season. He has to avoid getting too close to the limit at the beginning of official practices, as happened when he fell in China and Barcelona. Firstly, setting the bike up is crucial.

“When this is done and the conditions of the racetrack will be better, it’ll be easier to get gradually closer to the limit. Overdoing things before the bike is ready needs to be avoided.

“Last year’s experiences were important, even if they were negative to some extent. He’s improved a lot, even mentally. This year I’ll insist on this direction, hopefully he’ll manage to reach the bike’s limit gradually during the official practices.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt