“This result is like a victory for me”
Jorge Lorenzo, the Fiat Yamaha Team's outstanding rookie, shook off the injuries he suffered in his crash on Friday to take a superb fourth place in China today on his 21st birthday.
After fracturing his left ankle and badly
bruising parts of his right leg, it was easy to forget that the Spaniard had also undergone surgery on his right arm less than a fortnight ago, leaving him to contest today's race with only one limb in full working order!
With the weather turning bad today it was a nervous morning for the riders but it gradually dried out throughout the middle of the day and the 22-lap race was run in the dry. Lorenzo started from fourth but the early part of the race was a trial of endurance for the Michelin-shod rider as he slipped back through the field to as low as 9th at one stage. He then settled in 8th for seven laps before suddenly finding his rhythm on lap 12 and going on to pass four riders in as many laps. With Casey Stoner some way in front of him, fourth was as far as he could go but it was a brilliant result for the youngest rider on the grid after what has been one of the most difficult weekends of his career.
“Without a doubt, this result today is like a victory for me. On Friday I couldn't imagine being able to ride, then yesterday it was a little bit better and then finally today I was not able just to ride, but to be competitive and enjoy myself as well! I've ridden with a lot of pain in both legs but the staff of the Clinica Mobile made it possible for me to keep going, so I want to thank them”, said the Spaniard.
“I lost a lot of places early on but in the second half of the race I found my rhythm and then step by step I started to move forwards; in fact I think I made more overtakes than in any race so far in this category! I stalled the engine on the start line for the warm-up lap, which was a scary moment, but luckily I was able to restart and it wasn't a problem. I want to say congratulations to Valentino for a great victory today as well, I think it's going to be an exciting year. I didn't have any pain in my arms today so hopefully the recent operation has been a success. Now I'm flying back to Barcelona to have treatment on my ankles and I will do everything I can to be back to my physical best in Le Mans. I want to thank Michelin, because my tyres were very good today, as well as Yamaha and all of my guys. I've had a great 21st birthday!”
His team-mate Valentino Rossi made a triumphant return to the top of the podium with a masterful victory over Dani Pedrosa, topping a great day for the team. Lorenzo's hard-fought 13 points mean he is now seven points off Pedrosa in second, whilst Rossi stays in third but closes the gap to just two points.
“Jorge did an incredible job today, I don't think that anyone expected him to do this well after what happened on Friday and in his current physical condition”, commented Team Manager Daniele Romagnoli. “We were luckily able to find a good set-up very quickly despite missing out on the first day, and overall I think that we can be very happy with a job well done. We found a good tyre with Michelin and it seems that Jorge was able to find a good rhythm. Thank you to the staff of the Clinica Mobile because they played a huge part in enabling Jorge to ride like this. Congratulations to Valentino for his win, I hope that we can all keep going strongly!”