Jorge Lorenzo has declared that if Yamaha builds the bike to beat in MotoGP 2012, it will be the engineers that deserve the majority of the credit.
The amount of influence a factory rider has on the competitiveness of his machinery has been a subject of intense debate following Valentino Rossi's victorious switch from Honda to Yamaha in 2004, then troubled move to Ducati in 2011.
But, speaking in an interview with AS.com
, 2010 world champion Lorenzo is clear on where the line is drawn.
“If Yamaha are very competitive in 2012 it will not be because of me, but because of the engineers, who are the ones working all-day on the computer, designing parts for the chassis and engine,” he said.
“I have no idea about race engineering, so it depends entirely on the Yamaha engineers. The only thing I do is give directions as to how the bike behaves on the track.
“I'm just a rider, and the same goes for Stoner, Pedrosa and Valentino. It is important to give clear feedback on the shortcomings of the bike, but the rest is up to engineers.”
Despite that opinion, Lorenzo - second in the championship to Casey Stoner in 2011 - insists that rider talent still plays a decisive role in the MotoGP title outcome.
“In 2010 Yamaha ran four riders and the champion was me,” he said. “And last year Honda ran four official bikes and the winner was Stoner. So in the end, the rider is still as important as the bike, or even a little more.”
Lorenzo's 2011 season came to a premature end when he badly damaged his finger in warm-up for the Australian Grand Prix. The Spaniard, who won three races, was often the only rider capable of challenging Stoner and admitted the risks finally caught up with him.
“Casey, besides being a supernaturally-talented rider, had a very competitive bike and forced me to go to the limit,” said the 24-year-old. “This has its risks and in Australia I made the mistake of wanting to get close to Stoner in the warm-up and prepare to try to win his home race, which was almost impossible. I made a mistake and maybe I'll regret it, but everything is learned.”
Like all the factory MotoGP riders, Lorenzo is out of contract at the end of 2012 - the first year of 1000cc racing. The Spaniard stated that he sees no reason to leave Yamaha, where he has raced since his 2008 MotoGP debut, but like any rider he wants the most competitive bike possible.
Lorenzo, who missed the Valencia post-race test due to his injury, will be back on the 1000cc M1 during the start of testing at Sepang on January 31.