Jorge Lorenzo: ‘Rossi return can make me stronger’

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Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo believes the return of bitter rival Valentino Rossi to Yamaha in 2013 will make him an even stronger force to be reckoned with next year.

The Spaniard will renew his rivalry with Rossi after the Italian made a shock return to Yamaha following a disastrous two-year spell with Ducati that saw him fail to challenge for a single victory in 35 attempts.

When the pair raced alongside each other at Yamaha between 2008 and 2010, their rivalry was full of animosity at times and a wall split the factory garage and there was a ban on the sharing of data, which was instigated at Rossi’s request.

Lorenzo, who won six races to clinch his second premier class crown in 2012, reckons Rossi’s return though will help his motivation and focus for next season and make him a stronger threat to retain the title he secured at the end of October in Australia.

In an exclusive interview in the latest issue of MCN Sport, Lorenzo said: “All the riders wants things to come as easy as we can make it. This is a natural feeling. Everyone wants to win easy and get success without so many difficulties. But I think that the arrival of Valentino is a good thing for me.

I think it is a good thing for Yamaha too as they have a lot of strong riders. It is a good opportunity for Valentino as well to show what he can do on the track and I guess he will feel much more comfortable on the track with a much easier bike.

I think honestly it will be good for me and help make me stronger to have the opportunity to once again have the chance to beat one of the greatest riders in history. And I think he has a great opportunity to show that he can still win.”

When it was confirmed during the August summer break that Rossi was returning to Yamaha on a two-year deal, Lorenzo had penned his contract renewal several weeks earlier.

Yamaha had been desperate to sign Lorenzo on a new deal until the end of 2014 after Casey Stoner’s shock decision to retire made him a hot target for Repsol Honda.

But would he have been so hasty to ink a new deal with Yamaha had he known that Rossi was potentially returning to ride a YZR-M1 1000cc machine?

He told MCN Sport: “I signed at this time and probably it was too soon. Maybe we don’t play the best game and Lin Jarvis played it very well. But I don’t regret it.

I got a very good contract in a very good team and I will have a very good bike. I didn’t have so much time to think and relax and take a decision. But at that moment I decided with my head and it was very difficult to decide. The offers were very similar and on one side you are always tempted by the curiosity of riding another bike.

But I feel the faith that Yamaha has always given me from the beginning and this put the balance higher on the Yamaha side and that is why I signed with them.

Probably in another time it could be different but I don’t regret the decision because I know that Yamaha will put in all their effort to give me the best bike and this is the most important for me.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt