Lorenzo Reflects on Thrilling Brno Race

August 27, 2012
Scott Mathews
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There are few people worthy of getting an audience with Mathews but he makes himself available on occasion to the racers of the Grand Prix paddock. If they’re lucky, he might even mention their name. He’s Scott Mathews, and he’s bringing you the inside scoop on MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo  99  and Dani Pedrosa  26  traded positions out front a number of times before the end of the contest at Brno.
Jorge Lorenzo (99) was disappointed with his strategy on the uphill at Brno, but said “it is a good lesson for the future.”

Jorge Lorenzo admitted he got his tactics wrong in the closing stages of a thrilling Brno MotoGP after he suffered a last lap defeat to title rival Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo had seized the lead from the Repsol Honda rider with a daring move at Turn 7, but he was undone at the final chicane after running wide and letting Pedrosa snatch a stunning last gasp win.

Lorenzo, who now leads Pedrosa by just 13-points with six races remaining, said his strategy on the uphill approach to the final chicane had been wrong and Pedrosa had punished him with a brave move.

“It was a very funny race,” said Lorenzo. “When two riders are so similar on pace and on the lap time it is a close race to the end. When you see a victory so close you try to do everything but it was difficult to overtake Dani on the brakes because he was braking later than normal. I was stronger with corner speed and when it came to the last lap I saw a little space and I imagined us together on the ground but luckily I got to overtake him without a crash.

“I was thinking of winning but maybe I make a mistake going uphill and going so wide and he take profit of his light weight and the acceleration of his bike to keep the best line. I tried from the outside of the corner before the last one but I enter too close and he has faster speed and it was impossible to win this race. He was very brave and he wanted it and we have to learn from it for the next time. My strategy on the uphill was not good but it is a good lesson for the future.”

Jorge Lorenzo - Brno 2012.
Lorenzo was forced to push past Pedrosa on Turn 7, an unusual place to pass at Brno but one that’s served the Yamhaa rider well in the past.

Lorenzo’s pass on Pedrosa at Turn 7 is not one witnessed often at Brno but it is a move that has served Lorenzo well in the past.

He added: “I made this pass in 2004 when I won the race with a big group of riders. I was fighting with (Hector) Barbera for the win and he opened the line a little bit and I took the first position and it was very similar to this race. It was the only way to overtake Dani because we struggled a bit on braking. So the only way to pass him was in the chicanes or in this corner. I was planning to pass him at the corner before on the inside but he closed the line a lot. I went the opposite way to open my line a bit more and pass him at this corner. It still didn’t make us win and we must learn from this. I hope next time the result will be different.”

With his title lead now reduced to 13-points heading to the next race in Misano on September 16, Lorenzo said he was still confident that he will emerge triumphant at the end of the season.

“It is getting closer and we have finished in second place in the last three races. They (Honda) have improved the bike and for us it is difficult. But I am very optimistic and constant as we are always on the podium and better times will come in the future.”

Lorenzo Preferred Spies to Rossi

Yamaha has admitted that Lorenzo made it clear his priority was to keep struggling Texan Ben Spies as his factory Yamaha teammate in 2013 and not bitter rival Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo and Rossi will renew their intense rivalry again next season after the Italian signed a two-year deal to return to Yamaha after a wretched spell with Ducati.

Yamaha management spoke publicly on Rossi’s return for the first time ahead of the Czech Republic MotoGP round in Brno and senior boss Lin Jarvis was asked what Lorenzo’s reaction had been when the Spaniard was informed about Rossi’s return.

Ben Spies was delayed at the start after his clutch overheated.
Ben Spies will leave Yamaha after 2012 and Valentino Rossi will take his place, much to the chagrin of Jorge Lorenzo.

Jarvis responded: “We had a meeting together in Mugello where we informed him that circumstances were evolving that it looked like there was a possibility that we might be able to contract Valentino as a teammate. I think Jorge honestly would probably have preferred to keep Ben as his teammate because they have had a very good relationship these last two years together. That would have been his priority and that was the way we were working as well. But finally he respected Yamaha’s decision to bring back Valentino and it is up to us to manage the situation.”

Jarvis confirmed that Rossi will make his debut on Yamaha’s factory YZR-M1 1000cc machine immediately after the final race in Valencia. He also made it clear that Rossi had instigated negotiations over a shock return. Rossi won four world titles and 46 races for Yamaha in the most successful period in the Japanese factory’s history.

“Valentino made an approach to us to express his interest in returning to Yamaha so the first point of contact came from Valentino’s side,” added Jarvis.

The racing boss said Yamaha had not been placed under any external pressure to sign Rossi and he denied being under pressure from Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta to offer the 33-year-old a competitive bike after his disastrous spell at Ducati.

He added: “Although maybe some people may find this remarkable I can say that Carmelo had no influence whatsoever. I never discussed Valentino Rossi’s return to Yamaha with him, so this is Valentino being interested in Yamaha and us being interested in him.”

Rossi’s loyal and long-serving crew, led by Australian are all expected to return to Yamaha with Rossi next season.

Valentino Rossi on the grid at Brno.
Valentino Rossi approached Yamaha first about the prospect of returning to the team where he earned four world titles.

Negotiations are on-going with Rossi’s crew and Jarvis said: “We expect that Jeremy and the crew could return to us and we are certainly open to that. We spent seven years together with Jeremy and the technical group, so we haven’t yet finalized that plan but we are going to have further discussions with Valentino and now we will go into the planning of the crew.”

By signing Rossi to take over from Spies, who announced prior to the recent Laguna Seca race that he will leave Yamaha at the end of 2012, Yamaha also overlooked Tech 3 duo Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso as potential options to partner Lorenzo.

Dovizioso feels particularly aggrieved having claimed five podiums in the last seven races but Jarvis said both had been kept updated with Yamaha’s strategy.

“Both Cal and Andrea have had excellent seasons this year, particularly Andrea with five podiums now. In terms of pure performance of course he has done a great job and could easily expect that he would be given an opportunity to step up to the factory team,” said Jarvis. “Ben has had a torrid season this year and he’s had all sorts of unfortunate incidents and we talked about Laguna and Indy, he has had some illness problems and he’s also made some mistakes himself. He’s had a hard year but he still has a lot of potential. During this season we evaluated Cal, Andrea and Ben and our opinion is that we all agreed all three have a lot of potential. Before the process with Valentino started we had discussed with Cal and Andrea and told them they were doing a great job and we wanted them to stay with Yamaha but at the same time Ben Spies is our current factory rider and he has a lot of potential so we were more inclined to renew with Ben. This was something we told them five or six weeks ago. As the season progressed and the situation changed because we never anticipated Valentino coming back to Yamaha three months ago.”