Jorge Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha boss Wilco Zeelenberg has admitted the Spaniard’s close defeat to compatriot Marc Marquez in 2013 was tough to swallow.
Lorenzo led more laps than any other rider and won more races too last season, but he lost the title by just four-points to Marquez, who became the first rookie since 1978 to capture the premier class crown.
Lorenzo’s impressive tally of eight wins was a record for a rider that didn’t go onto clinch the title and Zeelenberg told MCN: “It was tough to take but what we have seen has been great for the sport and Jorge can be proud of that. To take eight race wins and not the championship is a hard one to swallow but finally Marquez got four points more, so he deserves to be champion."
Zeelenberg said the pivotal moment in Lorenzo’s bid to win a third MotoGP title came when he crashed heavily during practice for the German round at the Sachsenring in mid-July.
Lorenzo broke his left collarbone in a practice crash at Assen two weeks earlier and raced to a heroic fifth spot just 48 hours after surgery to repair the damaged bone.
He had made a storming start to the Sachsenring encounter when he fell heavily again on the left shoulder. He broke the collarbone again and damaged the newly inserted titanium plate and was ruled out of the German clash.
He then had to ride way short of his peak physical best in Laguna Seca, Indianapolis and Brno and while riding injured, Marquez punished his mistakes by going on a four-race winning streak.
That proved crucial in the final reckoning and Zeelenberg said: “The Germany crash was a key point although the Assen crash was also not on our wish list. The only thing was that the Assen crash was in the rain and these bikes are unbelievably fast, so they spin easily in the rain. At the point with Jorge was changing up to sixth and touching the white line it happened in an instant. I think this one you can judge as a racing accident that can happen during the season. In Germany at that point he felt so strong and the bike had improved and he wanted to prove that. So that was a mistake he made because he was pushing it too far to the limit. Those two crashes were a little too big to get away without any injury."