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Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo discusses the 2015 MotoGP™ season in a special interview ahead of the opening round in Qatar.
In a few days the 2015 World Championship will kick off. What do you expect from the start of this new season?
JL: “As always I hope to be able to try and fight for the title. Whether you win it or not in the end depends on many factors, but at least we have to go into the season with the intention of fighting for the title, as we have done all throughout my career in MotoGP. I think that, if the bike works well and I stay in good shape physically, I can do it. Let's see what happens...”
What have you learned from previously made mistakes, and from which mistakes did you learn the most?
JL: “I would say that in racing every experience has its value. You have to try and get a number of qualities together and need many resources to be competitive. I’ve learned that if things aren’t going well, you shouldn’t be tempted to force things, because that will only bring more problems. You have to be patient and be motivated to keep working and training to overcome the bad times.”
During this pre-season you’ve said on numerous occasions that you are as fit and skinny as you were when you moved up to MotoGP in 2008. Do you feel the same way in terms of your riding level?
JL: “As a rider you always try to polish the details, make up for your weaknesses, enhance some qualities even more and, above all, you try to make fewer mistakes. My progression in terms of speed and explosiveness was hard to improve, because I started my first three races in MotoGP with three pole positions in a row. It’s a contributing factor that at the time the Yamaha was the best bike and the Michelin tyres were working well, so I found it all relatively easy. Regarding my riding style, if I had arrived in 2008 with the experience and the riding style that I have right now, I probably would have clinched the victory at the first race in Qatar.”
How can your experience in MotoGP help the YZR-M1 this season compared to 2014 and how big of a difference will it make?
JL: “It seems that our opponents haven’t slept. Honda remains very strong and Ducati has made a big change, so we'll see what happens in the first few races. It won’t be easy, we still have to improve the bike and so we feel confident ahead of a hot lap and especially when facing an entire race.
Last year, at the beginning of the season, there were more problems with the new engine, fuel reduction, changed tyres...
JL: “Yes, that’s true. The bike is much better this year, but then again, other manufacturers have improved at a similar pace.”
We have talked a lot about the new gearbox for downshifting. What feelings and advantages are offered by this new transmission that you didn’t have before?
JL: “It gives more stability under braking and this makes the bike stop in a shorter distance and move less.”
Where is the key to winning the Championship?
JL: “Scoring points, as always. We must get more points than the others and that’s achieved with a great bike, staying focused, being one of the fastest and not failing.”
As there are more competitive rivals in this season, will consistency be even more important?
JL: “We always try to find a compromise between speed and consistency. This is a sport that lasts 45 minutes, with a schedule of 18 GPs, which are many races and laps. Consistency is important, but it’s not everything. If you are consistent but always a second slower than the fastest rider, it’s difficult to win the championship.”
Are you eager for a sporting revenge on your colleague Valentino Rossi?
JL: “No, I’m not fussed. Obviously you can always improve results. I'm not a perfect rider and I’ll never be, but I think I've done a great job over the years. I’ve won two World Titles and won races and championships with Rossi, Stoner, Pedrosa and other fast riders on track. Of course they’ve also won from me at times, it happens. It's like football, you can’t always win and I have no desire to get revenge on anyone. I will try to beat Marquez, who has won two years in a row. Since he joined MotoGP nobody could beat him, but I think we can do it if we meet all our set requirements.”
How much does Jorge Lorenzo still have to learn yet?
JL: “[Laughs] A lot, I hope. I hope to always keep an open mind so I can learn from everything and everyone around me and I’m able to enjoy the process of learning and growing in life. We must learn but also live in the moment and enjoy it.”
Is the third title in MotoGP an obsession for you, almost like a necessity?
JL: “No. I have just a few vital necessities and these I’ve got all covered. However, as a competitive maverick and perfectionist I do everything that’s possible to get the third title and even more, but nobody can guarantee me success. The future is uncertain, but if we work well and we have everything in place, we’ll have a bigger chance of getting it.”
What is missing from the Yamaha YZR-M1 to be the perfect bike?
JL: “The perfect bike doesn’t exist. Each year the bikes are better. In 20 years time the bikes will be spectacular and when riders compare their bikes to those we have now they will laugh at them and their performance. That’s the nature of life, especially in a technical sport that advances at a breakneck-speed. We can compare our bike to those of other brands, but each team that’s a favourite to win the championship has its qualities. If we compare our YZR-M1 with the Honda, which is currently the favourite, we can see that they have an engine that runs well on the straights and gives a tad more, while we, for now, carry more speed under braking, but lose out in acceleration and this is where we find our weak point. We must now solve this weakness and when we have improved it, we’ll have to tackle another weak point.”
This year you are prepared and physically stronger than ever, is this a guarantee for success?
JL: “There’s no guarantee for success.”
But how does it help you mentally and physically?
JL: “Enough to support my cardiovascular system. If the heart is accustomed to the strain of riding on the bike, you feel better You can train this by riding motocross or going to the gym, but even then, when you get on the MotoGP bike the first day, you have aches all throughout your body. The physical exertion you get from riding a MotoGP bike is different from everything else, but training does help for at least 10%. Obviously you also feel better mentally if you train and are physically strong.”
Do you intend to adopt different race strategies this year or will you always be on the attack?
JL: “Well, it depends on what the bike is like, how well I take off from the grid and how well I can do on the first lap. So far, one of my strengths has been to ride a great first lap. If I continue this strength, I'll try to take the advantage it gives me, but let's see from what position we start the race in Qatar from first.”
Does the reinforcement of some teams that were previously not so strong make this year’s championship more equal than ever?
JL: “Yes, because just in two tracks we’ve already seen a pretty big difference in performance. In Sepang the Yamaha was better but in Qatar, a track where we do better in theory, we’ve suffered more. The Ducati made a relatively big step in Sepang and they were the strongest in Losail. This indicates that it will be different for each circuit and that the first three manufacturers will be very close this year. Ducati seems to have entered in that front group. This year I have the feeling that there won’t be just four riders fighting for the wins, but more like six.”
Who do you think can cause a surprise this year?
JL: “If you ask me today, I would say the Ducati. It’s clear that nowadays they have a technical advantage with more engines, more fuel litres and different tyres.”
Could it be the Yamaha…?
JL: “Maybe, but it would not be surprising, because everybody always expects the maximum from Yamaha at the beginning, every year.”
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