Sepang MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo rues key crashes

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Jorge Lorenzo was left to reflect on four costly crashes after his slim MotoGP world title hopes finally disappeared in Sepang. 

Lorenzo surrendered precious points with falls in Jerez, Donington, Brno and Phillip Island and he conceded that he had paid a big price for his mistakes.

“I crashed in Jerez and thought the championship was finished, but then in one race I recovered 25 points. And then after I crashed twice in Donington and Brno I thought it was over but I recovered again.  

“I had a little hope to win the title but after Australia I said, ‘it’s over, finished completely’. Maybe without so many crashes I could have been world champion,” said a rueful Lorenzo. 

The Spaniard went into a rain-hit Malaysian GP trailing Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi by a massive 38-points after he’d crashed out at the first corner in Australia just seven days earlier.

And any hopes he had of keeping the champagne on ice for Rossi were quickly snuffed out moments before the start of the 21-lap Sepang clash.

After a torrential downpour had forced a 40-minute delay, Lorenzo’s number one factory YZR-M1 wouldn’t start.

Forced onto his spare machine, the double world 250GP champion planned to do two sighting laps to get a better feel for the wet track. But by the time he came through for the second one the pit lane had closed, meaning he then had to start from the back of the grid.

“I remembered back to Mugello when I crashed on the sighting lap, so I was quiet because I knew it would be a long race and lot of things could happen. I wanted to overtake a lot of riders in the first lap, “said Lorenzo.

He did just that with a breathtaking opening lap that saw him move up to eighth. He even passed Rossi too before fighting his way into fourth place on lap seven.

But as he began to suffer grip issues, Rossi swept by at turn nine on eight and Lorenzo said: “When Valentino overtook me I tried to follow him because in the rain you can get excited and aggressive and you can crash, so it was better to follow him and see what happened. 

“I followed for a couple of laps but I was dropping back and it was not possible to go with him, today I had to finish 4th.”

Despite their intense rivalry and Lorenzo’s frustration that the title had gone, he was still gracious in defeat.

He shook Rossi’s hand on the cool down lap and then visited the Italian star while he celebrated in Parc Ferme, a gesture not lost on Rossi.

Lorenzo said: “I want to give my congratulations to Valentino and all his team. He is the champion. It’s been a great season and I could never have expected to be fighting with Valentino like this so early in my career. Now I just need one point in Valencia and I will have my goal of being the vice-champion.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt