And hopes Lorenzo will make less mistakes
Jorge Lorenzo had an impressive rookie season, last year, scoring some podiums and a victory, despite suffering some heavy falls.
Team Manager Daniele Romagnoli expects him to perform as well in 2009 and hopes he will make
less mistakes. Here are the Italian thoughts on the coming season…
Daniele, Jorge had an outstanding 2008 in many ways, but at times it was also very painful. In hindsight, do you think he or the team could have done anything differently and better?
“In 2008, Jorge should have thought more about the lessons learnt from MotoGP than the actual results. Unfortunately, the first three good races he did and the good results he achieved made him feel under pressure and this lead to him to making mistakes. That was what jeopardised his season a bit in the middle of the championship. Then things started to work better, but this year we should avoid making mistakes. Nevertheless, he had a good championship as a rookie. He was the best among rookies and he did better than anyone else in the past as well.”
What are you aims and expectations for Jorge in 2009?
“In 2009, we aim t improve on the excellent result achieved in 2008. Doing so means hard work and a high level of concentration. Moreover, achieving good results regularly will be crucial, whilst at the same time avoiding overdoing things and being satisfied with a good result. If you shoot for the stars you can achieve an excellent position among the first three. We should avoid getting zero points, because this would have very negative consequences and reduce our possibilities very much.
Do you think there is much more pressure on Jorge to be consistent in 2009?
“Jorge will certainly have more pressure this year. Due to the excellent season he did, he'll have to show he's improved. It'll be crucial for him to better manage official practices and races. Sometimes during official practices he felt under pressure from the beginning, wanting to ride fast from the outset and this led to errors. Anyway, the experience he gained during last season strengthened him and he'll handle pressure much better this year.”
Do you think Jorge is capable of winning and being on the podium consistently in 2009? And do you think he can challenge for the title?
“This year Jorge could win some races and achieve a number of podium finishes, as he showed last year. It won't be easy to do so in every race. The championship will be challenging this year. It's too early now to say he'll win the title, but he has the ability to challenge for it.”
Do you expect there to be any problems within the team if Jorge is challenging Valentino for the championship? How do you think this will affect the atmosphere inside the garage and the working relationship between the two teams?
“I'd like to see Jorge and Valentino challenging for the championship. This would mean that Jorge has improved a lot, and at the same time that our bike, the Yamaha, is the most competitive and this would be great. I hope for it. I think there will be no problem within the team. We've known each other for a long time, the team work has always been excellent and this rivalry will only boost the desire both teams have to beat the other one. It'll be positive.”
The wall in the garage will remain. Can you tell us the reason for this and your opinion about why it is the right thing to do?
“The wall was built last year for a technical reason: avoiding the exchange of data between the two sides, because of the two different tyre manufacturers. The wall was good because this enabled each rider to have his own working team. The rider and the team together can focus on their own problems and adjustments without looking at the other side. It worked well in 2008, so why not carry on with it as we have two strong riders in our team?”
Which riders, in your opinion, are going to be Jorge's main threats this year?
“The best rider is Valentino Rossi. In 2008 he showed himself to be very strong and unique, both physically and mentally. He'll be the leading rider. Also Casey was strong, he'll be stronger having learnt from his 2008 errors and he'll be very aggressive. They'll be Jorge's main threats.”
Have you given Jorge any advice in order to avoid some of the problems he had last year?
“Jorge needs to modify his working method, as he did during the season. He has to avoid getting too close to the limit at the beginning of official practices, as happened when he fell in China and Barcelona. Firstly, setting the bike up is crucial. When this is done and the conditions of the racetrack will be better, it'll be easier to get gradually closer to the limit. Overdoing things before the bike is ready needs to be avoided. Last year's experiences were important, even if they were negative to some extent. He's improved a lot, even mentally. This year I'll insist on this direction, hopefully he'll manage to reach the bike's limit gradually during the official practices.”
Jorge hasn't had the chance to test the full prototype bike yet, but what is your opinion so far of the new parts you have tested and from what you have seen Valentino testing?
“In 2008 the bike was successful, so there was no reason to change the concept and the new bike is very similar to the previous one. Changing to Bridgestone tyres during the season, it became clear that the adjustments required were different from the previous set up. So, the new bike can have a wider range of adjustments. This allowed us, during the latest tests, to try different geometries, which improved acceleration after corners because we managed to increase the contact of the front tyre with the ground. We've also worked on engine management controls and maps, which enhance acceleration; our riders can open the throttle a few metres earlier. Valentino also worked on the engine and noticed an improvement in acceleration, and he said we are working in the right direction. So, we've just got to wait for the Sepang test with Jorge to have the whole package. This year the Japanese and Yamaha will surprise again. We're confident the bike will be equally competitive in 2009.”