The Spaniard is ready for his MotoGP debut
Lorenzo's new life as a MotoGP rider officially started this week, with the Fiat Yamaha Team launch – held in Turin on Friday.
Here is an interview with the double 250cc World Champion…
Jorge, can you tell us about
your feelings and emotions the very first time you rode Yamaha's MotoGP bike ?
“My very first impression when I rode the M1 for the first time was...pride and honour! I was already proud to be a part of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team at just 20 years old, and then when I eventually rode the bike I told myself: “This is the start. Now it is up to me!” I was quite emotional but curious at the same time to see what it was like to ride such a powerful bike. I think it is the dream for all those who do this job and it made me realise how few people have the possibility to experience such emotions; I felt lucky to be there. A few seconds later however, I also realised that I deserved that bike, that I had earned it through all the great efforts I had made during my career. I would like to take this occasion to thank Yamaha for giving me this possibility and to tell everyone at Yamaha that I will repay them for this opportunity.”
How has the winter testing programme been for you ? Have you enjoyed yourself and have you made as much, or more progress than you expected ?
“The winter test programme started well and finished better. After the first few days I spent riding the M1 I started to feel more and more comfortable with it, and it started to feel more normal for me.
I think I have improved quite a lot since the first test and I am sure that sooner or later we will be able to go very fast. I do not know when, because I am still getting accustomed to the MotoGP bike, but I am sure we will do a great job, in the end. Right from the start I found I was enjoying myself a lot with the M1, above all when I was able to do a wheelie on the straight for almost 1km!!! Perhaps I expected to be a little bit faster at the beginning of my winter testing programme, but actually, after the start, I did not expect to improve my overall performance as much as I did after such a short period of training. I was quite fast in Jerez especially, so we can say that between the very first test and the last test of the year I improved by one second! Not so bad at all!”
What do you think about your new team and your new team-mate, Valentino Rossi ?
“The thing that surprised me more was the familiar environment in the garage. I did not expect the Team to be so familiar, friendly and… “caliente!” Despite the warm welcome, however, I also found the garage to be completely professional. I think I am now in the best team of the world. The environment is perfect; the engineers work so hard, the bike… the mechanics… the food!!! Everything is perfect! And although I come from a very professional team, of course in MotoGP everything is even better than the world I have come from.
Valentino... what can I say about him? Valentino is the most complete athlete this world has the honour to have. He has everything; he is the best in braking, in the straight, going in the corner, in the pace... he opens the throttle before everybody, he makes shows in and out of the tracks... he is perfect! It will be very difficult to get to his level, but of course I will do my best to try!”
What have you found hardest about the adapting to a MotoGP bike, and what have you found easiest ?
“The hardest thing to adapt to was the braking, especially the hard braking. Although I have already improved a lot, actually I think I can do even better than I am doing now, it is just a matter of time and testing! The power delivery and the throttle management is not so difficult, so let's say that my style matches with this bike quite well, but I really need to work hard on the braking, because there you can really make the difference. Anyway, my improvements since the very first time I rode the M1 are quite clear, so it means that I have been going to the right direction to “understand” the bike. Thanks to my Team, who have always helped me a lot. During first few races it will be necessary to fine-tune my riding style and to fix some things I still need to make perfect.”
How have you found your new Michelin tyres ?
“MotoGP bikes are more powerful than the 250's, so it is normal that you expect more grip from your tyres. Since the very first test I understood that I could “trust” my tyres completely, more than I was able to do with the 250. Michelin tyres are not ‘wicked', they always help you and they do not have unexpected reactions, so it was positive for me because I immediately understood I could attempt and take many more risks. I am sure Michelin want to come back to the top of the standing and I know they have made a great effort and job during the Winter, so I am quite confident that this year there will be no difference between Michelin and their competitors.”
What is your greatest memory from your racing career ?
“It is quite funny, because the very best memory I have of my entire career, despite what you might think, is the moment I signed with Yamaha. Of course, there is my first world title: I remember one million of feelings, but I cannot tell you even one in detail… The other memory on the “podium” is my 2007 title. I think these are the memories I will take with me until the end of my entire career, as well as the memories I would like to remember for all of my life.”
What is your aim for this season? Winning a race? Podiums ?
“Generally speaking I think that the most important thing is to achieve your goals. ‘When' you do that, is less important. Normally people want to ‘arrive' immediately, but the most important thing is to arrive at your goals in good health. I do not know whether I will achieve my goals in one or in two years. The only one thing I am sure about is that I will be there, sooner or later, in front of all the others.”
Source Fiat Yamaha