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'Less pressure' Lorenzo pushing for seventh win
5 November 2012
Jorge Lorenzo heads to this weekend's Valencia MotoGP season finale with the pressure off, having become the first Spaniard in history to secure two premier-class titles at the previous Philip Island round.
The Factory Yamaha star will also be racing at Valencia for the first time since 2010, having missed last year's race due to injury, and is naturally aiming to sign-off a memorable year with a seventh victory.
That would also be one more win than nearest title rival Dani Pedrosa (Honda).
“This is the last round of the season, it's a great feeling to be coming home to my Spanish fans as the world champion,” said Lorenzo.
“It's been a long, tough year and we have all worked so hard to get here, now this weekend will be one to enjoy for all of us with less pressure.
“I will of course still be pushing for the top step of the podium, it would be amazing to end the year with a victory.”
But while Yamaha are able to celebrate Lorenzo's success, his team-mate Ben Spies will be unfit for a final M1 appearance, due to shoulder injuries sustained in Malaysia.
Test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who replaced Lorenzo at the same event last year, will replace the Texan this time around.
“It's with mixed emotions that we come to the last race of the year, we are obviously overjoyed to be world champions, a very deserved title after all the hard work Jorge and the team have put in to get there,” said Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli.
“On the other hand it is a great shame we won't have Ben with us for what would have been his final appearance for Yamaha. We wish him well with his recovery in the US and we welcome Nakasuga-san back into the team for this round.”
Nakasuga finished sixth in last year's damp Valencia race, then ninth as a wild-card at this year's Motegi round.
The Japanese rider also arrives in Valencia as a champion having recently secured the All Japan Superbike title for the second year running.
“It's a big honour to be chosen by Yamaha again to represent them at Valencia," he said. "The level of the talent is so high in the MotoGP field but I will do my best to make Yamaha proud with this opportunity. As the Yamaha test rider this is also a good opportunity to gain further valuable data for the M1.”
Following the race weekend, Lorenzo and 2013 team-mate Valentino Rossi will be back on track for testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Spies meanwhile looks set to wait until early next year before he is fit enough to try his new Ducati ride.
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