Jorge Lorenzo fears winning the 2010 MotoGP world championship will be a hollow victory without the formidable threat of Valentino Rossi to defeat.
Lorenzo is now red-hot favourite to win this year’s premier class world title after his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi saw his hopes of a tenth crown destroyed by a monumental high-speed crash in practice at Mugello earlier this month that broke the Italian's right leg.
Lorenzo has yet to finish lower than second in 2010 and he holds a comfortable 25-point lead over bitter Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa.
Speaking on the eve of this weekend’s British MotoGP clash at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, the 23-year-old said: “It is a real pity because the world championship without Valentino loses something and also for me to fight for the title against him has more value than without. It’s a bad thing because I enjoy a lot fighting with him for the victory. You can learn a lot of things racing with him because he is a teacher for all of us. To beat him is a big pleasure but now he’s crashed and it is a completely new championship.”
Lorenzo, who wasn’t even born when the last MotoGP race was held at Silverstone back in 1986, added: “Before Valentino’s crash I beat him two times. I don’t know if that affected his mind and he crashed because of that or not, but it is a pity for everyone that Valentino is not here.
"Winning the world championship is always a great feeling but without Valentino then maybe it loses a little bit of its value.”
Lorenzo conceded that Rossi’s crash in Mugello might have been a distraction after he failed to muster any challenge to compatriot Dani Pedrosa in the Italian MotoGP race.
“I was a little bit confused and I didn’t change my mind because when Valentino crashed the championship changed a lot for us. After some hours after his crash and before the race, maybe it was difficult to digest this and not think too much about it.
"On one hand the bike didn’t work the same as in practice and from another side I didn’t race like I normally do,“ said Lorenzo.
Despite the disappointment at failing to challenge Pedrosa closer in Mugello, Lorenzo is still thrilled by his flying start to the 2010 campaign.
He’s claimed 90 out of 100-points up for grabs so far and said: “I’m really happy so far and the start has been perfect for us.
"If someone had come to me with a piece of paper before the start of the season and say you’re going to have two wins and second places in the other races, I would have signed.”