MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo was riding 'a little confused' in the aftermath of Valentino Rossi's leg-breaking accident, and believes that the 2010 world championship has less value without the Italian.
Lorenzo came into 2010 mentally prepared for a season-long dogfight with the legendary seven time MotoGP champion, having kept the title fight alive until the penultimate round of last year.
Despite both suffering training injuries, Lorenzo and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi were the only riders to win in the first three rounds and quickly broke clear of the field.
Rossi took victory in Qatar, before Lorenzo claimed consecutive triumphs at Jerez and Le Mans for a title advantage of nine points heading into Rossi's home event at Mugello, where the Italian sustained his injury.
So how has the 2010 Lorenzo improved over the 2009 version?
“Maybe the mental side,” replied Lorenzo, speaking at Lords cricket ground in London on Wednesday, ahead of this weekend's Silverstone round.
“I was working on the mental side during the winter. Trying to be more constant. Trying to have the same speed, but with more safety margin. I think I've done that, but you never know 100 percent. Maybe I will crash sometime.”
Lorenzo also hinted that the mental aspect could have played a part in Rossi's fateful accident at Mugello.
“You know, before Valentino crashed we beat him two times in a row,” said Lorenzo. “I don't know if this affected his mind or not. I don't know if he crashed because of that or not. But it's a pity for everyone that he is not here.”
Ironically, the pressure Rossi may or may not have been feeling was instantly transferred onto Lorenzo, albeit in a different form. And it was a lot for the 23-year-old to take in.
“Maybe at Mugello I was a little bit confused, because when Vale crashed the championship changed a lot for us,” said Lorenzo. “There was not long between his crash and the race. It was difficult to process everything that had happened in that time.”
It is partially for that reason that Lorenzo was surprisingly unable to put up any resistance to Dani Pedrosa on race day.