Valentino Rossi not pushed to Ducati by Jorge Lorenzo’s form

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Valentino Rossi was not pressurised into moving to Ducati for 2011 because of the impressive form of Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo.

That’s the opinion of Aussie legend Mick Doohan, who won the world 500cc crown five-times in a dominant spell between 1994 and ’98.

Lorenzo told MCN earlier this year that his results in 2010 might have contributed to Rossi’s decision to quit Yamaha at the end of the season to complete a multi-million move to Ducati.

Lorenzo’s brilliant form and Rossi’s serious leg break in Mugello back in early June meant it nigh on impossible for the Italian to retain number one status at Yamaha next season.

Lorenzo is red-hot favourite to clinch his first MotoGP title in 2010 having established a 58-point lead over Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa with just five races remaining.

He missed the rostrum for the first time at the previous race at the Motorland Aragon when Nicky Hayden dropped him to fourth place on the final lap.

Former Repsol Honda star Doohan though doesn’t think Rossi was pushed into leaving Yamaha having won four world titles for the Japanese factory.

Doohan told MCN: “I don’t know whether it (Jorge’s form) pushed him into that decision. Rossi has been on top of the show for a long while and there is always going to be someone who comes through at some stage and Lorenzo is doing a great job.

“Whether or not he’s benefited from having Valentino as a team-mate, I’m sure he has. I guess the other side of that story is how will he cope once Valentino goes? Will the development of the bike be as good as it has been?

“But without a doubt he’s a confident young kid and he’s riding extremely well. Valentino knows he is going to beat Nicky so he can focus on trying to beat everybody else and hopefully that include Lorenzo as well.

“It has been a race within a race at the Yamaha team and that’s the way it is when you got a team-mate that’s pushing wind up your butt.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt