Valentino Rossi’s return to Yamaha for 2013 will provide perfect motivation to help Jorge Lorenzo successfully defend his crown and try to win the MotoGP world title for a third time.
That’s the view of the Spaniard’s factory Yamaha team boss Wilco Zeelenberg, who has been an integral figure in Lorenzo’s two MotoGP titles in 2010 and 2012.
Rossi and Lorenzo will renew their rivalry next weekend in Qatar when the 2013 world championship kicks off under the Losail International Circuit floodlights.
Italian Rossi recently said he felt the 25-year-old had been the strongest rider in winter testing and he never finished outside the top three in two tests in Sepang and further sessions in Austin and Jerez.
And with Rossi back on a factory YZR-M1, Zeelenberg said the return of the nine-times world champion would be good motivation for Lorenzo.
Zeelenberg told MCN: “With a rider like Valentino coming back into the team it is clear that Jorge will not be relaxing. It is much better to have a very good competitor next to you that you also have to beat on the same bike. We didn’t have that last year because Ben (Spies) was very inconsistent and you don’t sometimes know where the bike is.
But if you have an off day and the guy next door is putting the bike on pole you think it is possible and you can’t complain. That’s a big help. Now it is a good moment to have another strong rider in the garage. Jorge always wants to beat the guy in the same box and when he jumped into the box of Valentino in the past, from the very first time he wanted to beat him. He did and nothing has changed."
For an exclusive interview with Lorenzo and a 16-page guide to the new MotoGP season, see the April 3 issue of MCN.