Jorge Lorenzo might have wrapped up his second MotoGP title success at Phillip Island a year ago, but the Spaniard is hoping he can finally break his premier class victory duck at the spectacular Australian venue this weekend.
With Casey Stoner no longer providing formidable opposition at a track the retired Aussie has dominated on since 2007, Lorenzo is eyeing a maiden MotoGP victory to prevent Marc Marquez from clinching a historic first world title on Sunday.
The double 250GP champion is 43-points adrift of his Repsol Honda rival going into this weekend’s race and after finishing second in last year’s Australian Grand Prix to clinch his second MotoGP title, Lorenzo admits it will not be easy to deny Marquez.
Lorenzo told MCN: “Looking at last year and taking Casey out I would be the winner but it is not that easy because this year Marquez has been fast and he has taken the place of Casey. Not only in Honda but also in the competition at every track. I have always been quite fast at Phillip Island. In 2007 it was my best race in 250s to win the race. In MotoGP I have been on the podium but never fast enough to win but this could be the first time.
Last year Casey was really, really quick but in the race I did not want to crash because of the championship, so I couldn't take the same risks. But this year I don't have anything to lose. I just have to try and win, so it is a different story. We now have the seamless gearbox and the bike is better than last year, so why not? It is possible to win at the Island."
Lorenzo is hoping cooler conditions at the coastal Phillip Island track will help make his factory YZR-M1 more competitive.
Extreme temperatures in Sepang last weekend blunted Lorenzo’s challenge and he was comfortably beaten by Dani Pedrosa and Marquez to leave his hopes of defending his title by a thread.
Lorenzo said: “If I am lucky it is going to be cold and we can be competitive and try to win the race as in Misano, but fighting with them at the moment is difficult. Maybe Phillip Island is easier because there are some changes of directions that will be good for us but the strong braking points we will lose time. If we can be strong in the fast corners maybe we will have some options.
Of course I will try for the win as always but sometimes you finish ten seconds behind. The M1 is competitive everywhere, we don't have any clear Yamaha track like we did in 2010, and then even fewer in 2011 like Assen. Honda has improved their weak points and is very competitive in all tracks, especially on hard braking and acceleration. But Phillip Island could be a better track for us although Honda is also strong there as we saw with Casey. I don't think the M1 will have advantage at the Island. But I think we can be competitive at the remaining tracks."