Lorenzo on Verge of 2010 MotoGP World Championship

Henny Ray Abrams | October 7, 2010

Jorge Lorenzo didn’t want to talk about, Valentino Rossi did. And Dani Pedrosa was nowhere in sight.The pre-event press conference for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix was the first joint public appearance for the Fiat Yamaha teammates since last weekend’s thrilling Japanese Grand Prix. The final two laps were electric, with Rossi and Lorenzo beating and banging, and Rossi emerging on top to finish third behind Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso.Afterwards, Rossi said, “Yeah, I think, you know, also Jorge is very determined and aggressive because he wants to beat me for the podium. I think is normal. I mean, everybody give the maximum, won’t give up. For that reason I make the congratulation also for him, because he come back, he never give up. He want to beat me 100%, so for that reason when you have two riders like this is something very funny.”Lorenzo was so incensed he complained to Yamaha management, who later met with Rossi. He also vowed retaliation, but only after he secured the title, which should come on Sunday afternoon. “When I have won the title you will see the crazy Lorenzo. I will not react to this like Gibernau and Stoner,” he said, referring to the riders in two famous incidents of aggressive riding by Rossi.Lorenzo, who won his 250cc World Championship here in 2007, goes into the weekend with a 69 point lead over Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who remains home in Spain following an operation to repair his fractured left collarbone. Lorenzo needs six points, a ninth place finish, to secure the title.”This could be a very special weekend for me, the team and my family,” Lorenzo said at Thursday’s press conference. “I’m very excited, but I know I also need to concentrate and work hard. I just want to start the race with confidence and speed, not think too much about the points or the championship and enjoy what could be the most important race of my career.”As for Motegi, Lorenzo demurred, saying, “We’re here for a big thing this weekend, it doesn’t matter what happened in the past only that it doesn’t happen again now or in the future.”Rossi, on the other hand, was happy to talk about it.”The battle with Jorge at Motegi was great and very funny,” Rossi said, using the word ‘funny’ for ‘fun,’ as he always does. “I love always the battle and it looked good on television and even better from the bike. It was very aggressive and nothing more.”Rossi’s view was the consensus among those who saw the race. Said three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey, “I just think it was good hard clean racing.”Sepang is one of Rossi’s favorite tracks, a track where he’s had considerable success. The only question mark this weekend is whether his right shoulder will hold up in the tropical heat.”Every time I ride this track I love it and it’s very exciting,” he said. “I have great memories of races and championships here. I’m curious to see how much pain I will have with the shoulder here at Sepang, as it’s a difficult track.”As to whether he’ll end the season early to have shoulder surgery, so that’s he fit for winter testing in January, he said, “It’s 99 percent certain that I will go to Australia and, if I don’t have any more pain from the shoulder, I will finish the season.” More likely it will depend on whether Yamaha gives him clearance to test the Ducati following the Valencia season finale in early November. If he’s told he can’t test, Rossi would likely go ahead with the surgery in order to have an extra month’s recovery time.Motegi race winner Casey Stoner is now on form after a season spent struggling with the front end on the Desmosedici GP10. The Motegi win was his second in a row and Sepang is a race where he’s won twice in the premier class, in 2007 and last year.”We came here with more confidence after Motegi,” declared the Australian. “We started well in Japan but then had a bit of a downturn followed by an upturn. It was an important race win for us. We haven’t had the best of seasons and I haven’t really been able to give Jorge or Dani a run for their money, but we’ll keep working and see how it goes this weekend.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.